American Airlines abandons social distancing guidelines amid record COVID spikes

American Back To Packing Planes

American Airlines Will No Longer Block Middle Seats Starting This Week

Although the USA continues to report spikes in cases across the country, American Airlines announced that it will begin booking flights to full capacity again starting this week. However, United Airlines never promised to leave seats empty, and American said last week that starting Wednesday it would drop its effort to keep half of all middle seats empty. "A number of the airlines had made a decision to keep the middle seat [open]".

American plans to increase flights by almost 60 per cent starting July 7 compared with June, which could help avoid full planes.

Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines say they will continue to limit capacity, in some cases through September.

While flights will be able to booked to full capacity, American Airlines will continue to notify customers when the flight is crowded and let them move to a more open flight if it's available.

The company said it knows "customers are placing their trust in us to make every aspect of their journey safe, and we are committed to doing just that".

According to American, the airline is taking other safety measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on board.

Redfield urged individuals to social distance on airplanes, trains and buses "to the degree that's feasible and at least have a reliable face covering".

Also addressing the panel, top USA infectious diseases official Anthony Fauci called American's decision "of concern".

The airline originally shut down flights between China and the February due to the coronavirus outbreak. Those measures include mandatory masks, newly implemented cleaning and disinfection procedures, and requiring passengers to complete a health self-assessment before flights. That was the most since March 19 but significantly below the 2.6 million people screened a year earlier.

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