Thu | Jul 2, 2020

American Airlines will book flights to full capacity

Published:Friday | June 26, 2020 | 2:58 PM
In this March 31, 2020 file photo American Airlines planes are parked at Pittsburgh International Airport in Imperial, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, file)

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines will start booking flights to full capacity next week, ending any effort to promote social distancing on its planes while the United States sets records for new reported cases of the coronavirus.

American’s move matches the policy of United Airlines but contrasts sharply with rivals that limit bookings to create space between passengers to minimise the risk of contagion.

American said Friday that it will continue to notify customers if their flight is likely to be full, and let them change flights at no extra cost.

The airline said it will also let passengers change seats on the plane if there is room and if they stay in the same cabin.

Since April, American has limited bookings to about 85% of a plane’s capacity by leaving about half the middle seats open.

However, the airline will start selling every seat it can beginning next Wednesday.

Delta says it is capping seats at about 60% of capacity and Southwest at about 67%, both through September 30.

JetBlue says it will leave middle seats empty through July 31 unless the person is travelling with a passenger in an adjoining seat.

United, Spirit Airlines and now American, however, are taking a different approach, arguing that other steps — including stepped-up cleaning procedures and requiring all passengers to wear face coverings — eliminate the need to block some seats. 

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.