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JetBlue Will Stop Blocking Middle Seats After Dec. 1, 2020

JetBlue Will Stop Blocking Middle Seats After Dec. 1, 2020
Joe Cortez

JetBlue is the latest airline to confirm they will stop blocking middle seats, leaving two carriers as the only social distancing holdouts. The New York-based airline will book flights to capacity starting Dec. 1, 2020, citing studies that suggest cabin air filtration systems are effective in preventing the spread of germs.

Just in time for the holiday travel season, another airline says they will drop their social distancing requirements, and begin booking flights to capacity. The Associated Press reports JetBlue will stop blocking middle seats on aircraft starting Dec. 1, 2020.

Executives Say Blocking Middle Seats Indefinitely is “Not Something That’s Sustainable”

The plan to stop blocking middle seats comes after executives told investors during the JetBlue 2020 third quarter financial call that the practice is unsustainable. While it was necessary during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the anticipated holiday rush means more seats will be required to accommodate demand.

“So as we’ve said since the onset, the Middle seat block has largely been about rebuilding customer confidence in travel,” JetBlue president Joanna Geraghty said during their third quarter financial report call. “And we absolutely recognize that longer term it’s not something that’s sustainable and that as loads come back, the cost of the middle seat block is quite expensive.”

Moreover, JetBlue’s move comes as more research suggests that the air filtration systems are capable of preventing the spread of germs and viruses about the cabin. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association claims that there’s a lower risk of catching the novel Coronavirus from flying than other everyday activities. The study backed claims from studies by Harvard University and the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), noting that the odds of contracting the virus through flight is significantly low, so long as all passengers wear a face covering.

JetBlue’s plan does not mean every row will be occupied by three flyers. A spokesperson for the airline told the AP that the carrier will maintain some capacity limits aboard aircraft through the holiday season, but what that ultimately looks like is to be determined.

Alaska and Delta Final Two Holdouts Blocking Middle Seats

With JetBlue’s announcement, only two airlines will continue the practice of blocking middle seats through the 2020 holiday season. Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines both say they will continue to block middle seats through the month of December, as a social distancing measure. Neither has indicated if they will keep seats blocked into 2021.

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1 Comment

  1. BusinessCMG

    October 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Good! Maybe we can stop wearing the stupid masks, too.

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