That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Detours with locals. Gate agents will also board fewer passengers at a time, in an effort to avoid crowding in the jet bridge, and will encourage passengers to scan their own boarding passes. The airline is still leaving seats open as first-come, first-served based on boarding group. Frontier has added a special “health acknowledgment” at check-in, asking passengers to confirm that they nor anyone in their household has exhibited COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days, that they’ve checked their temperature and do not have a fever and that they will sanitize their hands before the flight. During boarding, the airline will provide passengers with health and safety kits, which include face masks, gloves and hand wipes. If you refuse to follow United's face covering policy while in the airport or on board a United flight, you will be refused transport and could also lose your travel privileges on United for at least the time that United’s mandatory face covering policy is in effect. A RED VENTURES COMPANY. The airline is so far the only U.S. airline to commit to blocking middle seats through the first quarter of 2021. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask may be banned from flying the airline. Here are 6 things to know about Southwest Airlines middle seat policy change 1. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. Alaska Airlines also intends to extend the seat block policy until after the Christmas period. Delivered every Thursday. As with many other carriers, vented masks are not permitted. JetBlue makes it easy to purchase an additional seat for extra personal space, however, with detailed instructions provided on the airline’s website. © 2021 THE POINTS GUY, LLC. https://www.washingtonpost.com/resizer/nxfjYY5X1OmODzMvrNNCDc2w8qo=/480x0/www.washingtonpost.com/wp-stat/newsletter/btw-promo.jpg, A man’s scheme to get free Spirit flights landed him a jail sentence. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. Hawaiian is blocking the sale of middle seats on certain aircraft through Dec. 15, 2020. A number of readers have reached out to note that United, too, is blocking middle seats, referencing an April 29 email from Chief Customer Officer Toby … Spirit is not currently limiting the sale of seats on flights. The airline is also applying an antimicrobial solution every seven days. [What to know about getting tested for the coronavirus to travel]. United Airlines pledged to block the middle seat on flights through May 30. “Today, aligned with science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations, we will resume selling all available seats for travel beginning December 1, 2020.”. Flights with rapid testing are being dubbed ‘covid-free.’ Here’s why that is a myth. American requires masks for all employees and passengers are required to wear masks as well, from the time they enter their departure airport to the time they leave the airport upon arrival. The airline said the practice “adds confidence and reassurance” for travel during the pandemic. Other measures. For months, as most Americans limited trips outside their homes, airline passenger loads plummeted to levels most of us could have never imagined. American Airlines is no longer blocking seats, and all aircraft may be sold to capacity. 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. and applying a disinfectant fogging before every flight. The airline is also requiring customers to complete a health acknowledgement prior to boarding. The airline is boarding economy passengers from back to front. Middle seats American Airlines no longer blocks off the middle seat and allows planes to fly completely full. Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter for more airline news! Ultimately, traveling right now does carry some risk, even though it may be impossible to quantify. When the pandemic came to the United States at the beginning of 2020, airlines … The airline is conducting “deep cleans” of aircraft, including electrostatic spraying, overnight, and tray tables and lavatories are disinfected before every flight. These policies will all kick in as of late April, and as of now will be valid through May 31, 2020, though presumably have the potential to be extended based on how the situation unfolds. Delta is requiring that all employees and contractors wear masks, and passengers are required to wear face coverings as well, at all Delta areas in the airport and onboard all flights. United Airlines is one airline company that plans to sell middle seats on its fight amid the coronavirus pandemic and calls for social distancing. Masks with exhaust valves are not allowed, and those who refuse to wear an approved mask or face covering may be banned from flying the airline. The airline says currently 85% of its flights are less than half full. Travel better with news, tips and guides that make you feel like a local wherever you go. Starting Dec. 1, budget carrier Southwest will join competitors United and American Airlines in returning to filling flights as normal. Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional information. The airline has reduced inflight service to limit onboard interaction, so customers are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks onboard. “As always, Southwest customers may choose their own seats,” Southwest says on its website about the boarding process. View our latest valuations here. Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. [New Zealand covid-19 flight outbreak linked to passenger who tested negative], Through Jan. 6, 2021, Alaska Airlines says it is “limiting the number of guests on our flights and blocking seats.” Gate agents may reassign groups or families to be seated together, although the airline notes that “there can be occasions where extra space cannot be guaranteed due to unforeseen changes such as re-accommodating guests from a previously canceled flight.”, After Dec. 15, Hawaiian Airlines says it will no longer limit capacity to prevent booking middle seats. The only U.S. airline of the Big Three that is still committed to distancing seat assignments on flights, Delta will continue to block seats through March 30. *Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. “This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now,” Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly said in an October statement announcing the change. The airline is so far the only U.S. airline to commit to blocking middle seats through the first quarter of 2021. Outside of increased cleaning protocols, waived flight change fees and other basic protocols that all airlines are utilizing, it looks like you’re in for a full flight. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Southwest Airlines. Airport employees and flight attendants are required to wear masks, and all passengers are required to wear masks during boarding, during the entire flight and during deplaning as well. The Points Guy will not sell your email. Delta is boarding flights from the rear of the aircraft to the front, to minimize opportunities for customers to come into contact onboard. Policies are evolving constantly, so we recommend checking with your airline for the latest requirements. Here are the major airlines that have been blocking off seats to maintain social distancing, and how long they say they will continue to do so. Aboard Amtrak’s Crescent, surprising comfort and welcome seclusion on a slow train to Mississippi, Paddling through a painterly landscape in New York’s Adirondack Park. Sanitizing wipes are also available onboard. TPG had an opportunity to witness an aircraft cleaning — see this post for a closer look at the airline’s current procedures. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. Middle seats will remain open until Sept. 30th. Additionally, testing and/or a 14-day quarantine may be required for all passengers traveling to Hawaii, as outlined in this detailed guide. The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. American and United adopted policies of keeping the middle seats vacant last spring but rescinded that policy over the last couple of months as demand for air travel has gradually increased. This is e ven though the airline is burning through four million a day – it could really use the revenue a middle seat would provide. More recently, however, many U.S. states have eased restrictions, and an increasing number of travelers are taking to the skies once again. In some cases, that results in an aircraft that is more full than expected, making social distancing difficult. Some of the procedures we’re seeing include: While it’s important to check with your airline as things can change by the day, here’s what you can expect when traveling on each U.S. carrier: Let’s break the policies down in more detail below, giving you an idea of what to expect throughout your journey. Sun Country is selling all flights to capacity. In cases where more than 70% of passengers have checked in, the airline will allow customers to move to another flight free of charge. The airline was previously limiting flight capacity to 70 percent of normal levels “to provide additional space between individuals who are not traveling together.”. Low fares may not be enough to lure many travelers. As part of the road to its recovery, the airline is opting against blocking middle seats and is instead offering free flight changes for passengers when more than 70% of seats are booked. Delta said this month that the extension was made because its customers still want extra space for in-flight safety. Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. If a passenger cannot accept the health acknowledgment, they’ll be issued a credit for a future Frontier flight. In addition to regular cleaning, Allegiant is applying an antimicrobial protectant that, according to the airline, “kills viruses, germs and bacteria on contact for 14 days.” Disinfectant wipes are available upon request on all aircraft. Will psychedelic mushroom vacations come to the U. S.? All Allegiant customers, flight attendants and airport employees are required to wear face coverings. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. JetBlue is not blocking middle seats, but is trying to give passengers some space. She's lived in the south of Spain, eaten her way around Sri Lanka, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, and spelunked in the remote Caribbean. Hawaiian is blocking the sale of middle seats on certain aircraft through Dec. 15, 2020. Face masks and sanitizing wipes are available upon request. And, as always, individuals who don’t feel comfortable traveling right now should take advantage of their airline’s flexible change or cancellation policy to cancel or postpone their trip. With a flight attendant’s permission, passengers may move to avoid sitting near other travelers, if seats are available elsewhere on the aircraft. What to know about getting tested for the coronavirus to travel, New Zealand covid-19 flight outbreak linked to passenger who tested negative. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Southwest has shifted from boarding groups of 30 passengers at a time to groups of 10, and gate agents are asking customers to scan their own boarding passes, minimizing interactions with staff. 30, 2021. Through Jan. 6, 2021, Alaska is blocking middle seats. Spirit is offering self bag-drop stations at select airports, minimizing interactions with employees. American says it is thoroughly cleaning aircraft between flights, including using an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean common customer touchpoints (armrests, seat belts, tray tables, etc. But United’s Earnest told CNN (via Inc.) that “keeping the seat next to you open is not going to make a material difference.” United Airlines Won’t Block Middle Seats, Here’s How To Protect Yourself From COVID-19 by Gary Leff on May 12, 2020 Delta and American Airlines are limiting the number of seats they’ll sell on each flight, to give customers confidence they can travel without having another passenger squeezed up next to them in a middle seat. United is requiring that all employees and passengers cover their faces in the airport and while onboard an aircraft. Spirit Airlines. Driving may seem like a safer alternative, but with food and fuel stops, bathroom visits and overnight stays on longer car journeys, avoiding air travel entirely isn’t always the logical pick. Gate agents are making frequent announcements to encourage social distancing, and the airline has added signage to encourage the practice in lines, in the gate area and onboard aircraft. Until Oct. 15, JetBlue was blocking all middle seats for purchase on its larger aircraft, and most aisle seats were “blocked for purchase" on smaller aircraft. CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners. ), along with cockpits, galleys and other crew areas. Some airlines will not fill the middle seat during this pandemic, though others are now booking all seats. JetBlue will no longer allow passengers to wear masks with exhaust valves, and if you forget your face covering at home, the airline will provide one at the gate. Finally, the airline is requiring passengers to undergo a temperature check at boarding — customers with temperatures at or above 100.4 degrees will be denied boarding. 4 questions, answered. The airline cited recent studies on the risk of in-flight coronavirus transmission, stating on its website that “respected researchers such as the Harvard T.H. Alaska Airlines will have masks available for passengers who forget theirs at home. The airline said on an earnings call that it will notify passengers two days before travel if their flight is near full, and will give passengers the option to be rebooked onto another flight free if one is available. Note that the airline does not guarantee a blocked seat, however, as the carrier may choose to use those seats to accommodate passengers on previously canceled flights. (photo via Jetlinerimages/iStock Unreleased) Less than a week after announcing it would end its policy on blocking middle seats and return to flying at capacity, United Airlines defended its decision today. Customers who refuse to wear a mask or face covering may be banned from flying the airline. American and United adopted policies of keeping the middle seats vacant last spring but rescinded that policy over the last couple of months as demand for air travel has gradually increased. JetBlue is limiting onboard capacity through Jan. 7, 2021, but the airline is no longer guaranteeing that passengers won’t be seated next to a stranger. Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. "For regularly scheduled flights that are expected to be fairly full, we’ll let you change your flight with no change fee or receive a travel credit for your trip. However, without firm requirements from the federal government, policies differ significantly from one carrier to the next, creating a lot of confusion among travelers. All Alaska employees are required to wear face masks, and all passengers two years and older are required to wear masks as well. Additionally, as demand begins to pick up, carriers may continue to feel financial pressure to adjust seat-blocking policies — with slim margins, it’s hard for a flight to turn a profit if you aren’t allowing travelers to purchase a third of the seats. Sun Country is requiring that all passengers and crew members wear face coverings. JetBlue says it is sanitizing surfaces throughout airport terminals more frequently and implementing other measures to limit contact, such as encouraging customers to scan their own boarding passes. Alaska Airlines is cleaning common touchpoints (armrests, seat belts, overhead controls, etc.) United is selling all flights to capacity. Southwest began limiting the number of seats sold on its flights in May and continued the practice through the Thanksgiving travel rush. U.S. airlines have been continuously updating their social distancing policies and rolling out requirements aimed at avoiding the spread of germs in-flight. “In Southwest’s open seating environment, families, or those traveling together, may still sit together and occupy a middle seat for their convenience.” Previously, middle seats were being accounted for in booking limits only through October, so the practice could again be extended. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Service has been limited, but water and snacks may be served on flights over 250 miles. And some airlines recently ended the practice. All inter-island aircraft are also cleaned after every flight into Honolulu (HNL) and are disinfected each night. The airline has also added a disinfectant, which is applied between day flights when an aircraft is on the ground for more than two hours, and during all overnight cleanings at the airline’s Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) hub. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. United Airlines. All JetBlue crew members and passengers over the age of two are required to wear face coverings or masks. 1 weather alerts 1 closings/delays 1 weather alerts 1 closings/delays When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, some airlines blocked selling middle seats to allow passengers to social distance while flying. Traditionally, fall is a good time to look for … All seats are available to purchase on Allegiant flights. Southwest Airlines has updated its COVID-19 policy limiting sales to ensure the middle seat stays open through at least Sept. 30, 2020. According to the airline’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage, Spirit’s “expanded aircraft cleaning protocols include hospital-grade disinfectants and antibacterial processes that keep all surfaces throughout the cabin free of viruses and bacteria.”. Masks are available upon request at ticket counters, gates and onboard flights. JetBlue Almost all U.S. carriers now require passengers to cover their faces onboard, and Alaska, Delta and Southwest each are capping ticket sales, effectively blocking middle seats, as detailed in my guide outlining distancing-related airline policies. Sun Country is not offering any service onboard, including complimentary beverages and buy-on-board products, to minimize interactions between passengers and crew. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Southwest is maintaining its open seating policy, but is not limiting the number of seats sold. United was the first big U.S. carrier to give up on blocking middle seats. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. … MileagePlus members seated in United Economy may be able to purchase a seat in Economy Plus, take advantage of premium cabin seating offers *, or request a MileagePlus Travel Award or MileagePlus Upgrade Award.The availability of these options varies based on whether you're booking travel, have already booked travel, or are eligible for check-in. United Airlines is joining the list of airlines introducing policies to encourage social distancing, including blocking seats. While a few airlines are still blocking seats from being booked to allow for extra space, they might not be doing so for long. Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. American does not permit masks with valves or vents, and customers who refuse to wear a mask or face covering may be banned from flying the airline. Delta will continue to block all middle seats through at least Mar. Starting Dec. 1, JetBlue is no longer blocking seats for sale. Southwest customers may still choose their own seats… Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. Many travelers, myself included, might start making booking decisions based on airline polices around seat restrictions and face masks for crew and passengers. MileagePlus members. Masks with exhaust valves are not allowed. How do travel bubbles work? United is selling flights to capacity. 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