JetBlue Will Keep Blocking Middle Seats Until September 8th

JetBlue’s in flight social distancing measures will continue to be in place until September 8th. The airline today shared that that middle seats on its larger jets and aisle seats on smaller planes will remain empty until the fall.

JetBlue is not rushing to change its middle seat policy. Photo: Getty Images

The plan continues

ABC reports that the airline will carry on the seat blocking practices until after Labor Day. This period will coincide with the end of the busier summer travel season. Until then, groups of three will only be able to be seated in a row together by request.

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In a previous press release seen by Simple Flying, JetBlue president, and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty shared that her firm is ensuring that the right steps are being taken amid the current climate. She said that while communities start to reopen and people start to travel again this summer, the airline wants travelers to feel safe.

Therefore, amid the global health crisis, JetBlue’s program includes a series of protections throughout the entire journey. Geraghty said that these combine to help keep everyone safe and well.

JetBlue middle seat
Passengers of JetBlue will still be spaced out on their flights. Photo: JetBlue

Policies across the board

Alongside inflight safety measures, the carrier has introduced various policies to help curb the spread of COVID-19. For example, it is performing temperature checks for its customer-facing crew. Additionally, it is providing paid sick leave and extra time off programs, so members of the crew do not feel pressured to return to work if they feel unwell.

Authorities in the United States recommend limiting aircraft capacity amid the global health crisis. However, they are not enforcing this policy on any carrier at the moment.

Regardless, JetBlue is still being proactive with its approach. Other operators such as Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines are also keen to keep up this practice.

Meanwhile, with demand picking up, the likes of American Airlines and United Airlines are opting for other processes, such as notifying passengers on fully booked flights and allowing them to change to a different, less busy service if available.

All these airlines nevertheless emphasize the extra sanitary efforts across their operations. Initiatives such as rigorous cleaning processes, high-grade air filtering, and strict face mask policies will go a long way.

JetBlue livery
JetBlue has several other safety measures in place amid the current conditions. Photo: Getty Images

Addressing concerns

A new study released from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor shows that blocking middle seats approximately halves the risk of coronavirus transmission on an aircraft. However, the chances of getting the virus on a plane are still low without this practice. The risk of transmission on a full jet is estimated to be about 1 in 4,300, while middle seat blocking could reduce this figure to 1 in 7,700.

Nonetheless, regardless of the risk, several passengers would undoubtedly feel more comfortable flying with as much social distancing in place as possible in the current situation. Therefore, many of JetBlue’s customers will be glad to hear that the company has extended its seat blocking policy.

Simple Flying reached out to JetBlue for comment on its middle seat policy. A spokesperson confirmed that the airline will continue to block seats until after the Labor Day holiday.

What are your thoughts about JetBlue’s seat blocking policy? Will you be flying with the airline soon? Let us know what you think of these measures in the comment section.