I will be flying soon on the same flight as someone I know, but we booked separately. I was hoping that we could adjust our seat selections so that we could sit next to each other, but for some reason when I select desirable rows, the available seat(s) next to me suddenly become "unavailable" (X'd out). You can see an example of two locations in the airplane where this happened below. I've never experienced this before. Why do they seem to want to hold the seat next to me, no matter where I sit?

(Note, if you are unfamiliar with Delta seat maps, the green seat is me -- I have redacted my initials for privacy)

Screenshot 1: sitting in 14F Screenshot 2: sitting in 19A

  • 14
    Could be that they are blocking middle seats for social distancing for people who are not on the same booking. Chances are these will open up when the plane gets full.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 21:50
  • 1
    Is the check-in open or not yet? I think I have an explanation.. Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 22:41
  • Not open yet — the trip is still a couple weeks out
    – Bunji
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 21:48
  • 2
    My first guess was so they can charge you extra money when booking two people so they can sit next to each other. Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 22:56

3 Answers 3


This seems like a temporary seat block to give you the chance to buy the seat next to you, which you can do through booking management in delta website. Some passengers buy two seats next to each other for extra comfort.

The blocked seat(s) should be unblocked after sometime, or after you check-in online. A similar process is being implemented in the airline I work for.


Until May of this year, Delta was purposefully blocking middle seats in an attempt to reduce spread of Covid-19.

From a twitter search, it almost appears as though they're informally doing this, by perhaps selling middle seats later in the process.

  • 3
    Wouldn't they block the middle seats prior to the OP choosing their seat? Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 23:01
  • 2
    Depends how it's coded, I guess. No point blocking out lots and making it appear super full, maybe/
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 23:18
  • 3
    Maybe they are keeping an unused seat between parties? You could book the middle seat, and it would block the two next to it? Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 0:27

You could try clearing your cache & cookies on your browser. Or using Tor with the Brave browser. That way they can't track you.

To open a Tor window in Brave, click on the hamburger in the top right of the screen & select "New private window with Tor". Be advised, you may have to jump through some hoops to get into your site (Capchas mostly), but your IP will have been routed through any number of servers to get there, so they'll have no idea who you are or what you've done on their site previously.

Good luck!

  • 2
    I do not think this is a solution, as I am sure that the site will always give 'blocked seats' around whichever one you select.
    – Willeke
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 18:42
  • That may be so, I didn't test this solution, but it's what we do when purchasing tickets to fly overseas. If nothing else it costs the OP nothing to try except some time.
    – delliottg
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 19:18

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