Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a slight uptick in passengers moving through TSA security, and it seems some people are starting to feel a little bit more comfortable booking flights.
We are still quite a ways off from things being even remotely normal again for the airlines, but there are some early indicators that progress might be happening soon.
This increase in air travel may be linked to the new policies that airlines are adopting to make things a little bit safer. They are requiring masks for all passengers on many different airlines and they also are employing better sanitation techniques, such as electrostatic sprayers.
One of the other steps that airlines are committing to is blocking out the middle seats.
Now personally, I don’t think that blocking out middle seats is super effective but it does make people feel a little bit better not having to rub elbows with someone who could potentially be coughing or sneezing behind a mask.
The problem is that blocking out the middle seat is not happening. As shown by a recent photo on a United flight, there were not blocked out middle seats. In fact, the flight actually looks pretty packed.
This happened only 10 days after United sent out an email claiming that they would be blocking out middle seats. United stated “We’re automatically blocking middle seats to give you enough space on board.”
Now, in United’s defense they have updated the website so it now states:
“Though we cannot guarantee that all customers will be seated next to an unoccupied seat, based on historically low travel demand and the implementation of our various social distancing measures, that is the likely outcome”
But this just goes to show you that things can change quickly so as you prepare to start flying again, be careful about what type of expectations you have based on precautions that you think are being taken.
Things may not feel as safe as you would like when it comes to passenger capacity and planes might be much more filled than you anticipate (you can always check the seat chart ahead of time to see what is available).
You need to consider that many flights have been slashed so those flights that are still running can still be quite full even though the demand for air travel is extremely low.
When you couple this fact with the fact that there has been a slight uptick in passengers moving through airports, you could see why things could get tricky when it comes to some full flights.
I don’t think these full flights are the norm at all but for some people who get freaked out with situations like this, It’s definitely a possibility they want to be aware of.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.