American Airlines to resume full-capacity flights starting July 1 amid coronavirus pandemic
LOS ANGELES - American Airlines flights may become more crowded starting in July.
The airline announced Friday that it will be booking flights to capacity starting July 1.
According to the company, the planned increase in capacity means that all middle seats will be available for purchase. The airline says it will notify passengers when their planes are full and allow them to switch to less crowded flights at no extra cost through Sept. 30.
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Beginning June 30, American Airlines will ask customers during the check-in process whether they have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for the past 14 days, the company said. Passengers will still be required to wear face coverings on all flights.
Additionally, American Airlines will continue to disinfect every aircraft and apply an electrostatic spray inside the aircraft every seven days, which kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria within 10 minutes, according to the company.
American Airlines says it has expanded its frequency of cleaning in airport areas, and customers on many flights receive sanitizing wipes or gel.
The airline said it is committed to the safety and well-being of its customers and team members.
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The decision to expand flight capacity comes amid a recent spike in cases across the country — including in Texas, where American Airlines’ hub is located.
Other air carriers, including Southwest and Delta, will continue to block middle seats and have greater restrictions on airline capacity in a bid to provide some measure of social distancing for passengers.
“Southwest will continue operating with approximately one-third of our available seats left open on every flight until at least September 30,” a statement from the company said. “We hope this policy gives Southwest Customers and Employees confidence in the ability to social distance while flying with us."
Delta also responded, “We have not made any announcements regarding changes to capping seating on our aircraft. We are committed to capping cabin seating at 60 percent in Main Cabin and 50 percent in First Class and blocking middle seats through Sept. 30, 2020.”
American Airlines declined a request for an interview.