The airline rolled out a feature — just before the pandemic — that blocks off certain rows on a seat map in the main cabin so only groups of three or more people traveling together can book them.
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Delta A321 interior
Credit: Courtesy of Delta Airlines

Delta Air Lines is making it easier for families and larger groups to sit together with dynamic seat maps that block certain rows for larger parties, the airline shared with Travel + Leisure.

The booking feature, which the airline started rolling out prior to the pandemic in 2019, blocks off certain rows on a seat map in the main cabin so only groups of three or more people traveling together can book them. To see these seats as available at the time of purchase, the group must be traveling together on the same reservation.

"Being a customer-centric brand means we're constantly working to offer optimal experiences across travel," a spokesman for Delta, told T+L. "Taking a dynamic approach with our seat map displays is one way of doing that by providing preferred seating choices in all cabins – at the time of booking or at the gate when working with an agent – for customers traveling alone or with a group."

The number of rows that are blocked off will vary from aircraft to aircraft and is based on historical booking and seat assignment data, the spokesperson noted.

However, while most individuals or smaller groups would not be able to book those rows at the time of purchase, top elite SkyMiles members — those who have platinum or diamond status — are able to choose those seats, regardless of the number of people on their booking.

Delta has made changes to its SkyMiles program in recent months, allowing travelers to earn points on everything from groceries with Instacart to car rentals with peer-to-peer car-sharing service Turo. In December, however, the airline stopped allowing passengers to earn SkyMiles or elite status on basic economy fares.

And in January, Delta extended its eCredits and will allow anyone who purchases any new ticket in 2022 to rebook that ticket through the end of 2023 and travel in 2024.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.