Delta Air Lines has announced that it is going to reduce the amount a seat can recline in its Airbus A320 planes. The move by the airline is an effort to protect the personal space of each traveler. The seats currently recline 4 inches in Main Cabin. The newly announced reduction will cut that to 2 inches. For First Class seats, the recline will be cut from 5.5 inches to 3.5 inches.
The move comes as problems arise when passengers get angry as the person in front of them reclines his or her seat. Planes even have had to be diverted due to passenger fights. One incident was so bad that the plane had to be escorted by fighter jets so that it could emergency-land in Washington D.C. This came at a cost of about $50,000 for the airline.
Knee blocking devices often prevent people from leaning back, and the airlines have all but banned them. Passengers using the device get their way, but the passenger trying to recline can become enraged, and a fight may then ensue. The airline reckons the best way to handle this sort of situation is to alter how much seats can be reclined.
Delta has stated that this change will not reduce legroom for any of the passengers and will not cause the airline to add additional seats. The testing of this new product will only be on the Airbus A320's at this time, the carrier's preferred planes for short-haul flights. For the time being, Delta will not be modifying the recline position for seats on long-haul flights.
If this change in seat recline proves to be successful, Delta may implement it in its other short- and medium-haul planes. It believes that the change will not be really noticeable by the passenger reclining, but very much appreciated by the person behind them. The airline began retrofitting its seats on April 13 and expects to have them all changed within two months.