JetBlue extends empty middle seat policy through Labor Day weekend

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Monday, July 13, 2020
How airlines are cleaning planes in response to coronavirus outbreak
Major American airlines have stepped up their cleaning procedures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and some are modifying in-flight service to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading.

JetBlue is extending its empty middle seat policy through the end of the summer travel season.

The airline said Monday that middle seats on larger aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft will remain empty as a social distancing measure through September 8, the day after Labor Day. Parties of three will be able to "occupy a row together by request," JetBlue said.

Federal officials said earlier this month that airlines should consider limiting capacity on planes to promote social distancing, but they are not considering making the airlines do it.

The officials also recommended - but did not move to require - that travelers wear face coverings in airports and on planes. All leading U.S. airlines now require passengers to wear masks, but regulators have refused a request by the airlines to make it a federal rule.

The issue of limiting capacity on planes gained new urgency when American Airlines joined United Airlines in trying to fill every seat on every flight. Other airlines including Delta, Southwest and Alaska say they are temporarily leaving one-third or more seats empty to create more space between passengers.

SEE ALSO: American Airlines bans activist who refused to wear face mask on flight

American Airlines has temporarily banned from its planes Brandon Straka, an activist who refused to wear a face mask on a recent flight, the first reported banning of a passenger who refused to comply with an airline's face mask rules.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.