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Middle seat blocking extended through 11/30/2020 [was: 10/31/2020]

Middle seat blocking extended through 11/30/2020 [was: 10/31/2020]

Old Sep 8, 20, 5:58 pm
  #1  
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Middle seat blocking extended through 11/30/2020 [was: 10/31/2020]

Looks like WN has decided they will stop blocking middle seats after 10/31/2020:

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Old Sep 8, 20, 6:14 pm
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Looks like you may be right, OP.

https://www.southwest.com/promise/ says through Oct 31, while wayback machine archives all say through at least Oct31

BOO Southwest for the Halloween trick.

​​​​​​Until the risk of Covid is over, de-densifying the flight makes sense. HEPA filters don't run while boarding, and who in their right mind wants to be touching shoulders or fighting over a middle armrest with a presumed Covid positive stranger.

Look at Canada's list of numerous recent domestic and international flights that have had confirmed covid infections. 44 domestic and 38 international flights within past 14 days. What multiplier of Canada's covid infections does the US have?

IMHO this move might tell the public to just stay home Nov 1st onward.

Last edited by expert7700; Sep 8, 20 at 6:53 pm
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Old Sep 8, 20, 6:22 pm
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Not definitive, but a good indicator.

IMHO this is a mistake.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by spongenotbob View Post
Looks like WN has decided they will stop blocking middle seats after 10/31/2020:
Or it means they have set a hard date for now. They can always extend it if they want, but for now they want to get this behind them. Costing them lots of money that they MAYBE can avoid.

I do not think this means they have a made a decision at all.
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NoStressHere is offline  
Old Sep 8, 20, 8:55 pm
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Surprised if they stuck to October 31 when Delta is blocking middle seats till January.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 8:58 pm
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Delta expanded their 75% limit through the first week of January.

I am sure that Southwest doesn't want to make a massive change to their Thanksgiving schedule to avoid overbooking flights with the 66% limit, especially with a lot of larger families who might sit three across or five out of six. But I also think they are waiting for CARES 2 or whatever they call it to kick in.

Southwest isn't the only airline likely to cut some November and December schedules. I have a DL CRJ-900 flight the night after Thanksgiving and I'm the only person ticketed. I'm just waiting for them to cancel it so I can move it to a different day in December and keep the low cost in points.
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Old Sep 9, 20, 9:52 am
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The promise of keeping the middle seat empty is the ONLY thing that has encouraged us to fly on any discretionary (leisure) trips. If that promise goes away, we are unlikely to fly for the foreseeable future. Zoom and Microsoft Team meetings have already eliminated almost all of our need to fly for business. I hope this October 31 date is just wording semantics on the part of SWA, but we will be watching closely. Clarification is needed, sooner rather than later.

As pointed out by others, the October 31 date roughly coincides with the start of flu season, and is only a few weeks away from the heavy Thanksgiving travel period. I suspect that for a lot of people, Thanksgiving will either be a road trip or staying at home this year, and Christmas travel will likewise be similarly impacted. I understand the issue of airline profitability, but I also understand the public distrust of flying on packed full planes.
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Last edited by screeton; Sep 9, 20 at 3:08 pm
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Old Sep 9, 20, 10:33 am
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The airlines cannot make a profit at 67% capacity. With the scheduling cuts Southwest is making starting in October, they probably need to attempt to have 100% capacity in order to meet their projected demand since they are cutting so many flights.

I find it ironic they will make this change October 31- right as flu season starts to ramp up.

But back to the topic of profitability, they won't make a profit at 25% capacity when hardly anyone feels comfortable getting into a plane, either.

We will see if the majority of the public is eager to go fly in full planes, during the winter, with fewer reschedule options available if something gets delayed, along with a flu and COVID risk. I certainly will not be partaking. Holiday travel season will be interesting this year. And it may well bring this entire industry to its knees.

It appears Canada has much better contact tracing (oh, the US decided not to go forward with contact tracing for those flying on airlines) and it has been proven these airplanes can absolutely breed COVID cases (obviously, just like a cruise ship).
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Old Sep 9, 20, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by storewanderer View Post
TCanada has much better contact tracing (oh, the US decided not to go forward with contact tracing for those flying on airlines) and it has been proven these airplanes can absolutely breed COVID cases (obviously, just like a cruise ship).
Canada posts which rows were affected.

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Old Sep 9, 20, 2:23 pm
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Time for all airlines to allow people to purchase an extra seat, regardless of their size. Same price as the occupied seat. I know they can't continue like this, but they also can't expect to drum up a lot of business when forcing people to sit shoulder to shoulder. Might be a tall ask of WN IT, though, you'd want to cap the number of 'real' passengers.
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synergistic is offline  
Old Sep 9, 20, 3:14 pm
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Where does it say anywhere that it may not be extended again?

The date has changed many times as the situation carries on.
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Old Sep 9, 20, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by 737MAX8 View Post
Where does it say anywhere that it may not be extended again?

The date has changed many times as the situation carries on.
The change in wording is what attracted attention. The current advertising says through October 31. The prior wording used was "...through at least October 31." The current wording seems to imply a more definite end to the practice, although of course it could be extended, particularly if dictated by public concern and the probability of aborted trips to avoid full planes.
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Old Sep 9, 20, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by expert7700 View Post
HEPA filters don't run while boarding...
They sure do. They're tied with the recirculation fan, so if that's on, any recirculated air from the cabin is run through that HEPA filter before re-entering the air system. Any other air is either supplied by the external air conditioning hose, which is supplied by fresh outside air, or the APU, which is also supplied by fresh outside air. No unfiltered, recirculated air is coming out of those vents.

This little animation from Southwest shows the airflow: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1039974089766604
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Old Sep 9, 20, 8:05 pm
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HEPA... does not mean anything if the guy next to coughs, sneezes or talks such that droplets come out of his mouth.

Just the way it is.
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Old Sep 9, 20, 8:15 pm
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Not sure what people want. There are three choices: 1. Another bailout, 2. Increased fares (which could include the option of purchasing an empty seat). 3. Sell the middle seats. The idea of selling empty seats for the asking has brand issues because it looks as though WN is selling safety (which it would be).

WN is betting that people will either be traveling or that it will be so unsafe that nobody will travel.

I would not parse the language too much. It goes without saying that WN can extend the policy or let it lapse and then reinstate it. Nobody can predict the future and there is no such thing as a permanent policy.
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