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Delta CEO Says “Ask First” When It Comes To Reclining Airplane Seat

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Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian apparently errs on the side of caution.

Or, at the very least, he believes in etiquette and common sense when it comes to reclining seats on airplanes.

The great debate reared its ugly head again this week when a video went viral of an American Airlines passenger who claimed she was assaulted by a man sitting behind her when she reclined her seat.

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The man repeatedly punched the back of her seat in retaliation, and the Twitterverse seemed split over who was at fault.

Enter Bastian.

Appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning to tout Delta’s plans to invest $1 billion to go carbon neutral, Bastian instead drew more response for his take on the reclining seat dilemma.

Give him credit – he initially, and smartly, tried to avoid the topic.

But when pressed, he said: “I think customers have the right to recline. We’ve been testing reduced recline … But I think that the proper thing to do is if you’re going to recline into somebody, that you ask if it’s OK first.”

But he added, “I never say anything myself, though.”

Bastian said he tries to read the situation.

“If someone knows there’s a tall person behind them, and they want to recline their seat, I think the polite thing is to do is make certain it was OK,” he said. “I never recline, because I don’t think since I’m the CEO of the airline, I should be reclining my seat. And I never say anything if someone reclines into me.”

Last year, Delta retrofitted its Airbus A320 jets to reduce the recline of the coach seats from 4 inches to 2 inches and the recline of first-class seats from 5.5 inches to 3.5 inches. The move was made in an effort to protect customers’ personal space and to minimize “disruptions to multitasking in-flight,” an airline spokeswoman said at the time.

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American Airlines Offering Roundtrip Fares as Low as $32

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Granted, there are very few people taking to the air these days in the wake of the devastating global spread of the coronavirus.

But American Airlines, for whatever reason, is offering one of those crazy once-in-a-lifetime deals.

As first reported by One Mile At A Time, American has a fare through the month of April where you can fly from Miami to Los Angeles for $16 each way.

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Yep, that’s right – $32 roundtrip to go coast to coast.

No doubt it’s one of the most eye-catching, startling fares ever offered, even better than when some airlines run a buy one/get one special. Not that we didn’t believe One Mile At A Time, one of the most well-respected and well-read aviation blogs out there, but we had to see this for ourselves.

Sure enough, when TravelPulse checked it out on Sunday, the fare had increased.

By eight whole dollars.

Choosing random dates and leaving Miami International Airport for Los Angeles International on April 22 and returning April 29, the fare for basic economy was $40 roundtrip. Want a better seat? Main cabin fares were just $96 roundtrip. (Forget about first class. You didn’t think American was that generous, did you? Those fares were $854 roundtrip.)

For the month of May, again choosing random dates and leaving Miami on May 13 and returning May 20, we found basic economy roundtrip fares for $56 and main cabin for $121.

So who’s going to take a flyer on these fares while the virus is still raging?

Certainly, there will be some folks, especially those that might absolutely need to travel more immediately. Or, you might have the gamblers out there who will take the chance that the pandemic and the restrictions will come to an end sooner than later, making the purchase of a May flight seem like a steal.

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