Have to Fly During the Coronavirus? Airline Middle Seat Policies vary tremendously. Unlike businesses within states, which in many cases have been required to implement social distancing policies if they're allowed to operate at all, the Department of Transportation has yet to even require all air passengers to wear masks, much less required social distancing on flights.
Here are the current major U.S. airline middle seat policies, from best to worst:
Delta has blocked all middle seats (these will be shown as unavailable for selection) and is blocking select window and aisle seats on its narrowbody aircraft that have 1-2, 2-2, and 2-3 seat configurations, to promote social distancing.
Delta has also committed to reducing the number of passengers in its cabins, capping the number of passengers at 50% for First Class and 60% in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select.
2. JetBlue: All Middle Seats for Unrelated Travelers Blocked Through July 6
Through the July 4th holiday, JetBlue has committed to blocking middle seats on its Airbus planes so that passengers will not be seated directly next to another travel party (those traveling together can still sit next to each other). On smaller Embraer 190 planes, the aisle seat will be blocked, so that passengers are only seated in window seats.
As with other U.S. airlines, JetBlue requires all passengers and crew to wear masks.
The first week of June 2020, JetBlue is also rolling out temperature checks for all pilots and in-flight crewmembers, and has provided paid sick leave so that crewmembers don't come to work sick.
Alaska is blocking middle seats on its larger aircraft that have 3-3 seat configurations in economy class, and blocking aisle seats on smaller aircraft, although only through June 30, instead of through the July 4th holiday as JetBlue is doing.
4. American Airlines: “50% of Middle Seats Blocked Unless Necessary” Through May 31
Don't expect too much from AA; there have been a number of passengers who have complained from very full American Airlines flights, so expect to be seated next to someone you don't know, who may or may not be wearing a mask.
5. United Airlines: Option to Take Alternative Flight if Flight is 70% Full
United has taken some heat as well for extremely full flights; as with AA, expect to be seated next to someone else and a potentially very full flight.
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