Which U.S. Airlines Are Blocking Middle Seats During COVID-19 –

Although I haven’t flown since late February, everyone I’ve spoken to and all the stories I’ve read claim that Delta Air Lines, followed by Southwest Airlines, are doing the best job flying during COVID-19. There are a number of reasons why but what’s making them stand out from the rest is that they’re blocking the middle seats.

But these two airlines are not the only ones doing this so I listed the others below with the dates they’ve committed to keeping the middle seat open.

Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is blocking middle seats through January 6, 2021

“Delta will block the selection of middle seats in Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin via the Fly Delta app or online.

“For customers in parties of 1-2: Middle seats will be blocked for safety. For customers in parties of 3 or more: Middle seats will appear as available for booking, to allow families and travel companions to select seats together.

Delta will also make sure that their flights are not filled to capacity. Customers can expect that Delta will:
-limit the number of customers on board all aircraft – with or without middle seats.
-limit the First Class cabin to half capacity to further ensure more space between customers.
-block one aisle of seats on aircraft without middle seats.
-on routes where planes begin to fill, they will continue to look for opportunities to upsize to a larger aircraft type or add more flights.

Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines is doing the second best job and that’s because they’re keeping middle seats open through November 30. “Customers can pick their seat—if you’re traveling together, you’re welcome to sit together.”

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is blocking seats through October 31, 2020. However, I wouldn’t count on having an open middle seat because they do warn: “There can be occasions where extra space cannot be guaranteed due to unforeseen changes such as re-accommodating guests from a previously canceled flight.”

JetBlue is extending its commitment to “seat distancing” for flights through at least October 15 by blocking middle seats in rows where parties are not traveling together.

I know American and United claim that blocking the middle seats don’t prevent passengers from getting COVID-19 and that’s true because if a passenger near you or even passing by has it and they’re not wearing a mask, you can get infected. But by blocking the middle seat, it does reduce the number of passengers on the plane, therefore reducing your chances. It’s also a lot more comfortable to fly with an open seat next to you. No more elbowing for that arm rest.

As you can see, Delta has the most generous policy of the four airlines since they’re blocking middle seats until January 6, 2021. Southwest Airlines is next since they’ve committed to keeping middle seats open through Thanksgiving (November 30). They’re followed by Alaska and JetBlue. Hopefully, the latter two will extend.

If I was going to fly, I would not only choose an airline that’s blocking middle seats but I would also choose a window seat so I’m not near people passing through the aisle or getting stuff from their bags. I would also steer clear of the bathrooms.

Do you have any tips to add for flying during COVID-19? Please leave them below!

Sep 18, 2020Johnny Jet


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