Using this hint is not advisable in the same sense that using most table hints is not advisable - you should only be doing this as where you really need to change the default behaviour of the query optimizer, and you know the full consequences not only on your transaction, but on others too. In the case where you want to process a queue of items, in your case deleting them, it could be seen that using this hint is 'acceptable' as any locked rows would be skipped and presumably deleted by the next pass of the queue. But I'd want to know why the rows to be deleted where being locked for so long that it was causing blocking on the delete. It might be a symptom of a design smell. Also think of the application as a whole - what should happen if you issue the delete command, and the row isn't deleted due to READPAST, but some other data, or part of the application expected the delete to work.