United Airlines. “In Southwest’s open seating environment, families, or those traveling together, may still sit together and occupy a middle seat for their convenience.” Previously, middle seats were being accounted for in booking limits only through October, so the practice could again be extended. In addition to regular cleaning, Allegiant is applying an antimicrobial protectant that, according to the airline, “kills viruses, germs and bacteria on contact for 14 days.” Disinfectant wipes are available upon request on all aircraft. MileagePlus members. Airlines launch trial of an app that would verify travelers’ coronavirus test results. United Airlines pledged to block the middle seat on flights through May 30. Yes, you can get a refund if you bought Southwest tickets before Oct. 23 for flights in December and beyond. Some airlines will not fill the middle seat during this pandemic, though others are now booking all seats. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. The airline has also installed clear shields at counters, added “distance dots” to promote distancing and shifted to an “on-demand” snack service. Middle seats American Airlines no longer blocks off the middle seat and allows planes to fly completely full. Traditionally, fall is a good time to look for … But United’s Earnest told CNN (via Inc.) that “keeping the seat next to you open is not going to make a material difference.” And some airlines recently ended the practice. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, some airlines blocked selling middle seats to allow passengers to social distance while flying. The airline is boarding economy passengers from back to front. After a United Airlines spokesperson criticized the safety policy of blocking middle seats on flights, Delta reiterated its stance. “As always, Southwest customers may choose their own seats,” Southwest says on its website about the boarding process. Alaska Airlines will have masks available for passengers who forget theirs at home. The Points Guy will not sell your email. Spirit passengers and customer-facing employees are required to wear masks or face coverings. CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners. Detours with locals.Travel tips you can trust. While passengers may see almost entirely unreserved seat maps at booking — expecting to find those conditions onboard — airlines are canceling and consolidating flights. In those cases, the airline will offer a free change to a flight with fewer seats occupied. All Alaska employees are required to wear face masks, and all passengers two years and older are required to wear masks as well. *Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. [New Zealand covid-19 flight outbreak linked to passenger who tested negative], Through Jan. 6, 2021, Alaska Airlines says it is “limiting the number of guests on our flights and blocking seats.” Gate agents may reassign groups or families to be seated together, although the airline notes that “there can be occasions where extra space cannot be guaranteed due to unforeseen changes such as re-accommodating guests from a previously canceled flight.”, After Dec. 15, Hawaiian Airlines says it will no longer limit capacity to prevent booking middle seats. Delivered every Thursday. The company said it will limit capacity on flights, though. Delta is also limiting first-class cabins to half-capacity, and it is “blocking one aisle of seats on aircraft without middle seats.” For bookings of three or more people, middle seats will appear as available in an effort to allow families to select seats together on the seat map. All seats are available to purchase on Allegiant flights. Frontier is cleaning aircraft before every flight, focusing on passenger seating, cabin walls, overhead bins, galleys and lavatories. How do travel bubbles work? View our latest valuations here. United Airlines is joining the list of airlines introducing policies to encourage social distancing, including blocking seats. Hawaiian says it is thoroughly disinfecting all planes after each transpacific flight with hospital-grade disinfectants, focusing on common touch areas. Spirit is not currently limiting the sale of seats on flights. TPG had an opportunity to witness an aircraft cleaning — see this post for a closer look at the airline’s current procedures. United was the first big U.S. carrier to give up on blocking middle seats. "For regularly scheduled flights that are expected to be fairly full, we’ll let you change your flight with no change fee or receive a travel credit for your trip. Southwest began limiting the number of seats sold on its flights in May and continued the practice through the Thanksgiving travel rush. Travel better with news, tips and guides that make you feel like a local wherever you go. Detours with locals. Customers who refuse to wear a mask or face covering may be banned from flying the airline. Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Middle seats will remain open until Sept. 30th. The airline was previously limiting flight capacity to 70 percent of normal levels “to provide additional space between individuals who are not traveling together.”. The airline is also requiring customers to complete a health acknowledgement prior to boarding. They’re blocking middle seats on larger aircraft and certain aisle seats on smaller ones, at least through Sept. 8th. Here are the major airlines that have been blocking off seats to maintain social distancing, and how long they say they will continue to do so. Now, one of those airlines is rolling back the policy. JetBlue says it is sanitizing surfaces throughout airport terminals more frequently and implementing other measures to limit contact, such as encouraging customers to scan their own boarding passes. © 2021 THE POINTS GUY, LLC. Other measures. [What to know about getting tested for the coronavirus to travel]. Southwest spends at least six hours cleaning all aircraft overnight, and the carrier says it is using a disinfectant to clean tray tables and lavatories before every flight. American and United adopted policies of keeping the middle seats vacant last spring but rescinded that policy over the last couple of months as demand for air travel has gradually increased. American and United adopted policies of keeping the middle seats vacant last spring but rescinded that policy over the last couple of months as demand for air travel has gradually increased. 30, 2021. If you’re considering flying (or need to) any time soon, the airline you choose will almost certainly have a big impact on the social distancing involved in your flight. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. United will make masks available to passengers upon request. Hawaiian is blocking the sale of middle seats on certain aircraft through Dec. 15, 2020. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. Travel tips you can trust. The airline has reduced inflight service to limit onboard interaction, so customers are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks onboard. Low fares may not be enough to lure many travelers. https://www.washingtonpost.com/resizer/nxfjYY5X1OmODzMvrNNCDc2w8qo=/480x0/www.washingtonpost.com/wp-stat/newsletter/btw-promo.jpg, A man’s scheme to get free Spirit flights landed him a jail sentence. All Allegiant customers, flight attendants and airport employees are required to wear face coverings. The airline is also applying an antimicrobial solution every seven days. Here are 6 things to know about Southwest Airlines middle seat policy change 1. You can still pick your seat and sit together, however. (photo via Jetlinerimages/iStock Unreleased) Less than a week after announcing it would end its policy on blocking middle seats and return to flying at capacity, United Airlines defended its decision today. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The airline is so far the only U.S. airline to commit to blocking middle seats through the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, testing and/or a 14-day quarantine may be required for all passengers traveling to Hawaii, as outlined in this detailed guide. “This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now,” Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly said in an October statement announcing the change. 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. Starting Dec. 1, JetBlue is no longer blocking seats for sale. The airline says currently 85% of its flights are less than half full. JetBlue Spirit is offering self bag-drop stations at select airports, minimizing interactions with employees. And, as always, individuals who don’t feel comfortable traveling right now should take advantage of their airline’s flexible change or cancellation policy to cancel or postpone their trip. using a high-grade EPA disinfectant before every flight. Delta is boarding flights from the rear of the aircraft to the front, to minimize opportunities for customers to come into contact onboard. The airline is so far the only U.S. airline to commit to blocking middle seats through the first quarter of 2021. Through Jan. 6, 2021, Alaska is blocking middle seats. American does not permit masks with valves or vents, and customers who refuse to wear a mask or face covering may be banned from flying the airline. Middle seats: United will not promise to keep middle seats empty. When the pandemic came to the United States at the beginning of 2020, airlines … American says it is thoroughly cleaning aircraft between flights, including using an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean common customer touchpoints (armrests, seat belts, tray tables, etc. Sanitizing wipes are also available onboard. For months, as most Americans limited trips outside their homes, airline passenger loads plummeted to levels most of us could have never imagined. During boarding, the airline will provide passengers with health and safety kits, which include face masks, gloves and hand wipes. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on. Alaska Airlines also intends to extend the seat block policy until after the Christmas period. JetBlue will no longer allow passengers to wear masks with exhaust valves, and if you forget your face covering at home, the airline will provide one at the gate. United is selling all flights to capacity. All employees are required to wear face masks and all passengers age two and above are required to wear face coverings as well, at all Frontier areas within the airport and onboard all flights. Southwest Airlines. Service has been limited, but water and snacks may be served on flights over 250 miles. A more thorough disinfectant cleaning will take place when time allows between flights. As with many other carriers, vented masks are not permitted. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. Masks with exhaust valves are not allowed, and those who refuse to wear an approved mask or face covering may be banned from flying the airline. Driving may seem like a safer alternative, but with food and fuel stops, bathroom visits and overnight stays on longer car journeys, avoiding air travel entirely isn’t always the logical pick. Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. What to know about getting tested for the coronavirus to travel, New Zealand covid-19 flight outbreak linked to passenger who tested negative. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Note that face masks that include an exhaust valve are not permitted. All JetBlue crew members and passengers over the age of two are required to wear face coverings or masks. Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy. JetBlue is limiting onboard capacity through Jan. 7, 2021, but the airline is no longer guaranteeing that passengers won’t be seated next to a stranger. Southwest is maintaining its open seating policy, but is not limiting the number of seats sold. Sun Country is not offering any service onboard, including complimentary beverages and buy-on-board products, to minimize interactions between passengers and crew. JetBlue is not blocking middle seats, but is trying to give passengers some space. She's lived in the south of Spain, eaten her way around Sri Lanka, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, and spelunked in the remote Caribbean. The following airlines are no longer blocking middle seats, but may alert travelers during check-in if their flight is near capacity or full: Allegiant, American, Frontier, Spirit, Sun Country and United. Additionally, testing and/or a 14-day quarantine may be required for all passengers traveling to Hawaii, as outlined in this detailed guide. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask may be banned from flying the airline. The airline cited recent studies on the risk of in-flight coronavirus transmission, stating on its website that “respected researchers such as the Harvard T.H. American requires masks for all employees and passengers are required to wear masks as well, from the time they enter their departure airport to the time they leave the airport upon arrival. U.S. airlines have been continuously updating their social distancing policies and rolling out requirements aimed at avoiding the spread of germs in-flight. Will psychedelic mushroom vacations come to the U. S.? While a few airlines are still blocking seats from being booked to allow for extra space, they might not be doing so for long. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. United is selling flights to capacity. JetBlue makes it easy to purchase an additional seat for extra personal space, however, with detailed instructions provided on the airline’s website. The airline is still leaving seats open as first-come, first-served based on boarding group. Gate agents will also board fewer passengers at a time, in an effort to avoid crowding in the jet bridge, and will encourage passengers to scan their own boarding passes. Starting Dec. 1, budget carrier Southwest will join competitors United and American Airlines in returning to filling flights as normal. With a flight attendant’s permission, passengers may move to avoid sitting near other travelers, if seats are available elsewhere on the aircraft. This is e ven though the airline is burning through four million a day – it could really use the revenue a middle seat would provide. All Southwest employees are required to wear face masks and passengers are required to wear masks or face coverings during their entire journey as well. Instead, it will simply alert travelers if their upcoming flight is 70% full or more. United Airlines recently announced that it was making some middle seats unavailable for passengers to select. Southwest customers may still choose their own seats… Frontier has added a special “health acknowledgment” at check-in, asking passengers to confirm that they nor anyone in their household has exhibited COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days, that they’ve checked their temperature and do not have a fever and that they will sanitize their hands before the flight. Delta is thoroughly cleaning common touchpoints (armrests, seat belts, overhead controls, etc.) Almost all U.S. carriers now require passengers to cover their faces onboard, and Alaska, Delta and Southwest each are capping ticket sales, effectively blocking middle seats, as detailed in my guide outlining distancing-related airline policies. Editorial Note: 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. Spirit Airlines. -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. If a passenger cannot accept the health acknowledgment, they’ll be issued a credit for a future Frontier flight. Sun Country has increased the frequency at which it cleans high-touch areas, including arm rests, tray tables and lavatories. I would like to subscribe to The Points Guy newsletters and special email promotions. Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Face masks and sanitizing wipes are available upon request. This equates to blocked middle seats, although they are maintaining their open seating policy. Delta is requiring that all employees and contractors wear masks, and passengers are required to wear face coverings as well, at all Delta areas in the airport and onboard all flights. Southwest has shifted from boarding groups of 30 passengers at a time to groups of 10, and gate agents are asking customers to scan their own boarding passes, minimizing interactions with staff. Masks are available upon request at ticket counters, gates and onboard flights. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. As part of the road to its recovery, the airline is opting against blocking middle seats and is instead offering free flight changes for passengers when more than 70% of seats are booked. Airport employees and flight attendants are required to wear masks, and all passengers are required to wear masks during boarding, during the entire flight and during deplaning as well. The new policy, which means middle seats will once again be filled on flights with strong demand, takes effect Dec. 1, after Thanksgiving but ahead of … Policies are evolving constantly, so we recommend checking with your airline for the latest requirements. Note that the airline does not guarantee a blocked seat, however, as the carrier may choose to use those seats to accommodate passengers on previously canceled flights. American Airlines and United Airlines have resumed selling potentially packed flights, now that they’ve reversed their temporary coronavirus-inspired policy of blocking middle seats. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Customers who refuse to wear a mask or face covering may be banned from flying the airline. 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. … Additionally, as demand begins to pick up, carriers may continue to feel financial pressure to adjust seat-blocking policies — with slim margins, it’s hard for a flight to turn a profit if you aren’t allowing travelers to purchase a third of the seats. For travel after that date, however, the airline quietly updated its seating policy to remove that middle-seat guarantee, and in November the airline reversed its seat-blocking policy. Southwest Airlines has updated its COVID-19 policy limiting sales to ensure the middle seat stays open through at least Sept. 30, 2020. In cases where more than 70% of passengers have checked in, the airline will allow customers to move to another flight free of charge. MileagePlus members seated in United Economy may be able to purchase a seat in Economy Plus, take advantage of premium cabin seating offers *, or request a MileagePlus Travel Award or MileagePlus Upgrade Award.The availability of these options varies based on whether you're booking travel, have already booked travel, or are eligible for check-in. Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. Chan School of Public Health and the Department of Defense have validated that the risk of viral transmission on board a commercial aircraft is extremely low.”. Many travelers, myself included, might start making booking decisions based on airline polices around seat restrictions and face masks for crew and passengers. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). 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