I was pleasantly surprised by Alaska Airlines’ policies. This company has promised to keep the middle seats open longer than Southwest Airlines, which has a fleet size more than twice that of Alaska Airlines. The company announced on its website:
The middle seats are closed until January 6, 2021 and we are limiting the number of guests on our flights. Gate agents can reassign seats to create more space between guests or to seat families traveling together, which may include using the center seats. There may be cases where, due to unforeseen changes, no additional space can be guaranteed, e.g. B. Re-accommodating guests from a previously canceled flight. If you are uncomfortable with the distance between you and other people on your day of flight, please speak to a customer service representative about your options.
After initially suspending mid-seat ticket sales in April, American Airlines didn’t even pretend to keep the policy until the COVID-19 cases were denied. Just before July 4th, the center seat blocking was suspended, the airline said in a press release.
“As more and more people travel, customers may find that flights will be at full capacity from July 1st,” the company said in the press release. “The Americans will continue to notify customers and allow them to switch to open flights if they are available at no cost. This applies in addition to the airline’s current travel waivers. More details on travel waivers can be found below and on aa.com/travelalerts.
“If there is space available after boarding – taking into account weight or balance restrictions of the aircraft – customers can move to another seat in their ticket cabin, depending on availability.”
In a move that few competitors had emulated, the company announced on November 18 that it would keep the middle seats open until March 30, 2021. “Several independent studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Delta CareStandard’s multilayered protection, such as advanced ventilation and a comprehensive cleaning program, which together significantly reduce the risk of airborne transmission,” said Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer. “However, we know that some customers are still learning to live with this virus and we want additional space for their security. We listen and will always take the appropriate steps to ensure that our customers have full confidence in their journey with us. “
This company chose to span the fence to protect customers. JetBlue announced on December 1st it will not block any middle seats. However, plans to limit flight capacity have been detailed, with only 85% of available seats sold by January 7, 2021.
A month after Southwest announced it would keep the center seats open to ensure the “well-being and comfort” of customers and employees, the airline traced the guidelines. I think the profit concerns outweighed the customer and employee considerations.
“This practice of effectively keeping the middle seats open has bridged us from the beginning of the pandemic, when we knew little about the behavior of the virus, to today. In accordance with scientifically based knowledge from trustworthy medical and aerospace organizations, we will resume sales of all available seats for travel from December 1, 2020, ”the airline announced on October 22.
United books aircraft at full capacity, citing the same Harvard study. The airline listed on their website:
“Since airlines started taking these measures in spring 2020, there has been little evidence of disease transmission on board, according to researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Their report notes that the exposure risk falls below that of activities such as shopping and dining when the “high-efficiency” ventilation systems run from boarding to departure, as we do at United. And even if the aircraft is full, according to the DOD study, an average of only 0.003% of infected air particles could get into the breathing zone of seated, masked passengers. “