American Airlines blocks seats for social distancing


About a week ago, I wrote about how United Airlines is helping people to socially distance themselves. The airline has started asking boarding officers to proactively relocate people on empty flights to maximize space between people (and depending on appearance, flights are empty).
Well, American Airlines has announced a similar initiative.

How American Airlines Contributes to Social Distancing

Kurt Stache, SVP American Customer Experience, has another of his beautiful video messages sharing how American takes care of customers (I don’t understand why they can’t also write what he says, so we we don’t have to watch these videos to understand what’s going on).

I have already written about some of the American initiatives, such as the suspension of most in-flight services. But there is one thing that seems new to the airline, because American Airlines is taking steps to help passengers get away.

As explained:

“Our gatekeepers can reassign seats to create more seats between you and other travelers. to make it easier, we block half of all the seats in the middle. Once boarding is complete, customers have the option of switching to another seat in their cabin. Of course, there may be restrictions, and this is not guaranteed. ”

Apparently, this policy runs until May 31, 2020 and is subject to weight and balance. Interestingly, the Americans take a different approach from United here – United wants door officers to relocate people so that weight and balance don’t become an issue, while Americans make efforts before boarding and also tell people to relocate once boarding is complete.

American headquarters blockage in action

It is also interesting to note that the airline will block half of the intermediate seats. I do not know if that means that they would not actually sell a flight at full capacity, or if it just means that if a flight is not very full, they will block some intermediate seats.

For what it’s worth, many flights seem so empty that I’m not sure that much social distancing efforts are even required on them.

Here is an example of this seat blockage at work on a Dallas-Charlotte flight this morning:

As you can see, the seats in the middle of the plane are blocked. However, ironically, people are crammed into the back of the plane, while closer to the front (it’s not even the additional main cabin) we see stuck in intermediate seats with no one sitting on either side .

Besides, who the hell are all these people who fly ?!


For the most part, the flights are really empty right now, although I imagine that they will start to become more full, as the airlines have reduced their capacity considerably. In general, I appreciate the efforts of the Americans here, as they begin to block the middle seats and also tell passengers that they can get around.

Lufthansa has taken an initiative like this even further, blocking all intermediate seats on flights from Germany.


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