American will start filling planes after doing the least of big US airlines to protect passengers. Here’s what it was like to fly the airline during the pandemic.

Social Distancing on American and Delta

American Airlines is selling its planes to capacity starting July 1 as more passengers take to the skies for the typically busy summer travel season.
The airline had previously only sold 85% of seats on its jets and had not blocked middle seats like some of its competitors.
I saw American’s already poor social distancing policies in action during a recent journey from Atlanta to Hartford, Connecticut via Charlotte.
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American Airlines will start selling every seat onboard its aircraft this summer as it abandons a policy of limiting capacity, the airline announced Friday, which was implemented to help assuage fears of full flights.

Taking effect on July 1, the policy reversal comes as more travelers are taking to the skies this summer, with the Transportation Security Administration showing over 500,000 flyers passing through checkpoints nearly every day since June 18. American was previously only selling seats on its aircraft up to 85% capacity, as opposed to the approximately one-third of capacity limits implemented by competitors Delta and Southwest.

“As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are booked to capacity starting July 1,” the press release stated.

Passengers on full flights, however, will continue to be offered alternatives including a free rebooking if they chose not to travel due to concerns of crowding.

I flew on American in early June on a one-stop journey from Atlanta to Hartford, Connecticut via Charlotte, North Carolina and saw how the country’s largest airline is adapting to the pandemic.

Here’s what it’s like flying on American right now.

SEE ALSO: I flew on America’s 2 largest airlines for the first time in months and was shocked to discover stark differences in how they’re each adapting to the new reality

DON’T MISS: I visited the newly opened LaGuardia terminal and saw how it has turned the infamous airport into one of the best in the US

My first post-pandemic journey on American started with a quick flight from Atlanta to Charlotte. The last time I’d flown on the airline was in January.

The seat map at check-in showed most seats open, though some later filled up. I had booked in basic economy so I had no say in my seat selection but I wasn’t sure why American had assigned me a seat next to somebody when there were open rows ahead of me.

The gate area was promising, with partitions at the counter and only one lane for boarding. Gate agents also encouraged passengers to scan their own boarding passes.

The only social distancing reminders in the gate area, however, were pieces of tape on the floor that said “6 feet.” They were only for those going up to the counter, not the boarding lane.

There were few reminders of the airline’s commitment to passenger safety and peace of mind on board. Tiny messages were shown on the information screen that read: “We’ve enhanced our cleaning procedures for your safety” and “face covering required on board” but that …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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