American Airlines will begin booking flights at full capacity, the company announced Friday night, even as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in some areas of the country.
Starting July 1, American Airlines will no longer vacate the half seat and will allow full capacity flights to be booked.
The airline said it will notify customers and allow them to “move on to more open flights when they become available, all without incurring any costs.”
After boarding, passengers will also be able to move to a different seat in their ticketed cabin if there is room, given the aircraft’s weight or balance restrictions, the airline said.
The number of people traveling is increasing after plummeting in March, although it is still not close to pre-pandemic levels: according to the Transportation Security Administration, the agency evaluated 623,624 passengers on June 25, which represents an 83% increase over the same day the previous day. month.
United Airlines is also booking full flights, but Southwest, Delta and JetBlue continue to impose social distancing by limiting seating capacity.
Elected officials and public health experts attacked the decision. Representative Ted Lieu (D-Ca) said the airline was “putting lives at risk” and asked them to “reconsider.” Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, tweeted that he was “very saddened by this aggressive move amid the # COVID19 records.”
“As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are reserved at capacity beginning July 1. American will continue to notify customers and allow them to move to more open flights as they become available, all without incurring any costs, “the airline said on the press release.
After stabilizing for a short time, coronavirus cases in the US are on the rise, led by record increases in the southern and western states, including California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Although those states began reopening last month, leaders are backing down, but mandatory mask orders remain a political issue.