Flights are often considered to be fairly uncomfortable for those travelling in Economy. It’s a truth universally acknowledged, however, that the middle seat is the least comfortable spot of all. And now, the seat might cease to be an option altogether on certain planes.
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A number of airlines are considering abolishing middle seat bookings amid new safety measures introduced due to coronavirus.
American and Australian airlines are among the carriers who have said they will go ahead with the move.
Meanwhile, in the UK, easyJet is also weighing up whether to cut middle seats.
So what are airlines around the world doing regarding this new measure?
easyJet have said it’s something they’re considering introducing when their fleet returns to the skies to help reassure customers and ensure their safety onboard.
An easyJet spokeswoman told Express.co.uk: “We are continuing to explore all ideas around what health and safety measures will best protect our customers and employees when we restart commercial flights.
“Based on our discussions with EASA and other agencies, it is likely there may be new ways of operating. This could include leaving middle seats empty to create more space for passengers.
“We don’t know what they will be as yet so will assess these as and when we are required to introduce them in order to operate using best practice and in compliance with any rules or new ways of operating as the safety of our passengers and crew remains our highest priority.”
Meanwhile, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has slammed the idea of blocking middle seat booking.
O’Leary said: “We’re in dialogue with regulators who are sitting in their bedrooms inventing restrictions such as taking out the middle seats, which is just nonsense.
“It would have no beneficial effect whatsoever.”
It’s unclear what British Airways’ position on the middle seat currently is.
Express.co.uk has contacted BA for further information.
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Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines are among the US airlines which have temporarily got rid of middle seat booking, reported USA Today.
However, Alaska has said it will permit families or groups to sit together, in the middle seats, upon request.
Meanwhile, American Airlines is blocking off 50 percent of its middle seats.
JetBlue has said fliers will only be assigned to two-thirds of the aircraft.
“We are capping our flights whenever possible to allow for a level of social distancing, relaxing our assigned seating policy and proactively assigning seats to maintain distance among customers not travelling together,” JetBlue spokesman Derek Dombrowski told USA Today.
Qantas has said it will leave middle seats on its aircraft open.
However, Qantas flights have been flying at around 30 percent full, so social distancing has happened by default, the airline said.
Virgin Australia has gone one step further. The carrier is not only blocking out middle seats but it’s also making sure no passenger is sitting next to anyone else, said USA Today.
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