The Department of Transportation says travelers still have rights during this time, and we have answers to some of their biggest travel questions.
The airline announced it will continue to block middle seats in rows in situations where passengers aren’t traveling together through July 6.
“As communities start to reopen and with summer travel kicking off this weekend, more people are beginning to fly, and we want them to feel safe on JetBlue,” Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer at JetBlue said in a statement. “Our program layers together a series of protections throughout the entire travel journey, which work together to help keep everyone safe and well.”
Specifically: Middle seats will be blocked on the airline’s Airbus aircraft, while aisle seats will be blocked on its smaller Embraer 190 aircraft.
All airlines say they are offering some measure of social distancing, with some blocking middle seats and others saying they will cap the number of passengers per flight. Executives say the moves are temporary because removing up to one-third of seats permanently would decimate their already weak finances, or force them to raise fares significantly.
All major U.S. airlines and an increasing number of airports also now require passengers to wear masks or other face coverings.
Airline industry trade group Airlines for America on Wednesday released stats noting that one in four U.S. flights last week was more than half full.
But the group said just 8.5% of flights were more than 70% full.
One of the reasons for the suddenly fuller flights besides an uptick in demand: Airlines have slashed their schedules by 75% from a year ago.
The group noted that though airlines are attempting to leave some seats open for distancing between travelers, not all circumstances allow that.
What United, Southwest, Delta and American are doing about middle seats
United Airlines, responding to social media backlash about a full Newark-San Francisco flight, last week said it would do its best to notify passengers 24 hours before their flight if it was going to be more than 70% full.
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said the airline is only booking flights to about 60% capacity, which it says effectively leaves middle seats open. The airline did recently increase the number of seats for sale because it is no longer blocking up to three rows of seats near the galleys.
A notice on Delta’s website says that all flights are capped at 60% and middle seats are blocked.
American is limiting the number of passengers on each aircraft through May 31, according to spokesman Ross Feinstein. “As part of this limit, American will not assign 50% of main cabin middle seats or seats near flight attendant jump seats on every flight, and will only use those middle seats when necessary,” he added.
Nervous about a packed plane?: United to notify passengers facing ‘full’ flights, offer options
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