Blocked Middle Seats Right now, only Alaska Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue are blocking seats for sale to limit the number of passengers onboard. Other safety measures: Southwest recently scaled back on its cleaning, with USA Today reporting the airline would stop cleaning armrests and seat belts between each flight to save time. Not anymore. So let’s dive a bit deeper and see what each airline is doing. American Airlines. Required fields are marked *. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In those cases, the airline will offer a free change to a flight with fewer seats occupied. In early Novemer, the airline announced it would start selling flights to capacity beginning Dec. 1, 2020. Throughout the rest of the cabin, your Frontier flight may fill up. Domestic first class will still be capped at 50% through at least October. American and United … Delta maintains it is the only US airline to keep blocking middle seats on its flights. Flight attendants will work with passengers to spread out across the cabin if extra seats are available. https://thriftytraveler.com/airlines-block-middle-seats-guide American Airlines AAL, -1.45% has come under scrutiny for its decision not to block the middle seats on flights in the name of preventing coronavirus transmission — … From Dec. 2 through Jan. 7, 2021, the airline is capping ticket sales to 85% of the seats on each flight. But most major U.S. airlines aren’t blocking seats at all and will instead sell flights to 100% capacity. Among 11 of the nation’s largest airlines, less than half are currently blocking seats or capping ticket sales to make sure flights don’t go out full. But don’t celebrate the death of the dreaded middle seat just yet. Let’s be clear: An empty middle seat does not give you the six feet of social distancing public health officials say is critical for battling coronavirus. United was the first big U.S. carrier to give up on blocking middle seats. “Extending blocking of middle seats on mainline aircraft through Jan. 6th, 2021,” the carrier said in a statement on their website. Other safety measures: JetBlue says it deep cleans each plane overnight, disinfecting high-touch areas like armrests and tray tables between every flight. Coronavirus has changed nearly everything about travel, but just what you find onboard depends heavily on which airline you fly. Inter-island flights are cleaned after every stop into Honolulu (HNL). American Airlines and United no longer block their middle seats, but have taken heat from much of the public over those decisions. He joined the company in 2018 after spending years covering state and national politics for The Associated Press. But any additional distance is better than none. Aisle seats on regional jets with just four or five seats in each row will also be blocked. But the airline has made some changes that will allow it to sell more tickets on each flight while still honoring the promise that you won’t be seated next to a stranger. It's made a big deal out of blocking middle seats to reduce capacity on flights, and it's the only airline that's committed to blocking middle seats through March 2021. American is not guaranteeing blocked middle seats on any flights, though it’s added flexibility for customers on full flights. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. Alaska says it uses electrostatic spraying technology to deep clean planes, and cleaning crews move through high-traffic areas of the plane between each flight with disinfectant. American Airlines announced today that it plans to end its middle-seat blocking practices that were first instituted in the name of social distancing back in … Hawaiian is among the airlines blocking middle seats – but unlike many others, it hasn’t put a date on when that policy may change. They “are currently preventing the booking of middle seats on our aircraft to continue to provide more space for guests and flight attendants through December 15. Aisle seats may also be blocked on regional jets with just four or five seats in each row. That means your odds of getting stuck next to a stranger flying American are higher than some of its competitors. Southwest also changed its boarding process – it boards the plane in groups of just 10 passengers at a time. It stopped blocking middle seats just before the Fourth of July, the airline announced in a news release. All of the major U.S. airlines—including Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United—have mandatory mask policies in place with strict enforcement rules. As of Oct. 1, Delta began selling Delta One business class cabins on widebody jets to capacity. After initially pausing ticket sales for middle seats in April, American Airlines didn’t even pretend to want to keep the policy in place until COVID-19 cases declined. The airline cleans high-traffic areas of the plane between each flight, and sends jets for deep-cleaning each night. Your email address will not be published. For the foreseeable future, I simply wouldn’t be comfortable flying with someone right next to me. Friends and family remember Micki Kanesaki as a brilliant and kind-spirited woman. But it deep-cleans aircraft nightly, and still scrubs tray tables and lavatories between every flight. That makes it more likely that you may get stuck sitting next to a stranger. Which U.S. airlines are still blocking middle seats (and until when) Alaska: Alaska is blocking middle seats and limiting the number of passengers on flights through January 6, 2021. Middle seats American Airlines no longer blocks off the middle seat and allows planes to fly completely full. Delta Air Lines has capped its flights at 60% of capacity in the Main Cabin and plans to block middle seats through September 30th; Alaska Airlines is blocking middle seats until July 31st.The airline says it will also reduce capacity on its flights until then. © Photo by Shutterstock Delta just announced it will keep middle seats open until at least April 2021. began selling flights to capacity starting July 1, 2020. announced it would start selling flights to capacity, full review of the Spirit flying experience during COVID-19, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. Other safety measures: Alaska Airlines is also boarding planes from back-to-front to limit passengers contact during the boarding process. United is selling flights to capacity. The airline has limited the number of seats for sale for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wooing skittish travelers. Lonnie Kocontes tells a jailhouse informant his thoughts on the case and the prosecutor. AA says it will instead alert passengers when their flights are getting full during the check-in process, giving them the chance to switch, free of charge, if their flight is eligible. Other airlines never did block the middle seat, or not for very long at least. But Delta just announced it will keep middle seats open until at least April 2021 – longer than any other U.S. airline. Which U.S. Airlines Are Still Blocking Middle Seats? >> Next: How Much Do Masks Really Protect You on Flights? Read more about how Delta is blocking middle seats. Alaska Airlines has pledged to block seats on all its flights through at least Jan. 6, 2021. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. JetBlue has slowly backed away from blocking middle seats. So Southwest merely capped ticket sales on each flight at roughly 66%, making sure middle seats weren’t chosen. Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Other safety features: Believe it or not, Frontier is the only major U.S. airline testing flyers’ temperatures before every flight. Soon, they won’t block seats, period. Some airlines have committed to keeping seats empty on every flight into the fall – and even into 2021. Connect with friends faster than ever with the new Facebook app. As always, you have to choose your airline wisely. But there’s one big caveat to Alaska’s seat-blocking policy: The airline specifically warns passengers that “there can be occasions where extra space cannot be guaranteed,” such as when Alaska has to re-accommodate travelers from a canceled flight. During my first flights in more than five months, I looked at the empty seats next to me and shuddered at the thought of a stranger sitting there. Like most budget airlines, Allegiant isn’t blocking any seats from sale. And that deadline has steadily moved later and later as the coronavirus pandemic drags on. While that’s good news for the embattled airline industry, the growing number of passengers could be of concern for travelers who were hoping to have a little extra space between themselves and others to remain socially distant when flying. United Airlines, for example, never capped capacity on any of its flights. Depending on load factors, seating may need to be adjusted at the gate to maximize spacing throughout the cabin and meet weight and balance restrictions.”. Here’s a look at how some of the biggest U.S. airlines are approaching middle seats, and which ones you’ll want to fly if you want the guarantee of extra space. AA says it will instead alert passengers when their flights are getting full during the check-in process, giving them the chance to switch, free of charge, if their flight is eligible. And I imagine the same is true for many travelers out there. 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Mayor Muriel Bowser calls police response to Capitol riot a ‘failure’, California hospitals face decisions on whether to ration care for Covid patients, A closer look at what laws were broken during the Capitol Hill riots, Lester Holt on processing the attack on our democracy at the Capitol. Other safety measures: Spirit says it cleans planes between each flights with a new, stronger disinfectant. Other safety measures: American hasn’t changed up its boarding process much at all: The airline still boards the plane as normal, with nine distinct boarding groups (and basic economy at the rear). That will allow families to more easily occupy a whole row together, putting more people on each flight while still honoring the commitment to keep middle seats open between strangers. New research has shed some light on how vigilant mask wearing may help prevent COVID-19 transmissions in-flight. Airlines and medical experts spar over whether or not the middle seat should be blocked. To date, American Airlines has only publicly committed to blocking off half of the middle seats onboard its planes. Even the airlines that are blocking middle seats admit it’s a temporary measure until travel demand returns. All flights between Hawaii and the mainland U.S. (or international destinations) are deep-cleaned between each flight. July 11th, 2020 at 9:51 PM American Airlines and United Airlines have resumed selling potentially packed flights, now that they’ve reversed their temporary coronavirus-inspired policy of … American Airline and United, for example, have been selling to capacity, although they will let passengers know if the plane is getting full to give them the opportunity to switch flights. Sun Country is not blocking seats from sale, but CEO Jude Bricker has said flight attendants will work with passengers onboard to spread out when extra seats are available. Even though the airline is burning through four million a day – it could really use the revenue a middle seat would provide. American Airlines is blocking off 50 percent of the main cabin middle seats on its aircraft, as well as any seats situated near the flight attendants’ jump seats. The airline has suspended all snack and drink service onboard. President-elect Biden says he’ll leave any decision on impeachment up to Congress. At least through November. Those efforts have been uneven across the industry, however. Unlike its competitors, Southwest doesn’t assign seats – you pick the best of what’s available upon boarding. And if you’re flying on a smaller regional jet with just four or five seats in each row, you may wind up sitting next to a stranger. Alaska Airlines will have masks available for passengers who forget theirs at home. Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. United has also overhauled its boarding and deplaning processes. And that’s especially true if you want to ensure you’re not rubbing shoulders with a stranger, as not all airlines block middle seats. Both Alaska and Delta’s moves are attempts to gain sales from instilling confidence in their methods. Other safety measures: Allegiant was the last of the major U.S. airlines to require all passengers and crew to wear face masks. American Airlines, which has been blocking half the middle seats in economy since April in the name of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, … © 2021 Thrifty Traveler. On Friday, Southwest announced it would cap the number of flyers on each plane to make sure middle seats could go empty. Some airlines are choosing to sell all of their seats while others are blocking seats to keep more space available for each customer. And Allegiant also says travelers “can request to be notified” if a flight is more than 65% full. Photo: Southwest Airlines Social distancing in flight. And come Jan. 8, 2021, JetBlue will stop blocking seats altogether. JetBlue CEO says airline will block middle seats into 2021, cites importance of 'customer perception' In extending the policy, JetBlue joins other carriers such as Alaska Airlines and Delta Middle seats have become a hot topic in travel today. The airline announced yet another extension, saying it will keep middle seats empty until at least April 2021. If space is important to you, two U.S. airlines are still guaranteeing it—but not for much longer. More to the point: An empty middle seat can make you feel safer. He loves to help others understand the confusing world of travel, airlines, and points and miles. 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