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Airlines announce they will begin booking flights at full capacity as COVID cases skyrocket

By Laura Brown
September 29, 2021
Masks on a plane
Soon, you'll be able to book the middle seat again on United and American Airlines.

American Airlines and United Airlines have announced that beginning July 1, they will begin to book flights at full capacity. The news comes amid skyrocketing case numbers of COVID-19 in the United States.

Both United and American Airlines said they would continue to provide lenient cancellation and rebooking policies, and will alert flyers prior to boarding if their flight is above capacity.

Why it matters

At the beginning of the pandemic, airlines instilled stricter limits on the capacity of planes to encourage social distancing. The significant decline in demand for flights and loosening cancellation policies meant there were plenty of empty seats to accommodate stricter social distancing requirements.

Air travel is down 80% compared to this time last year, and all major US carriers have cancelled around 50% of their flight schedules to accommodate the decrease in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Airline executives argue that in order to survive, airlines need to begin booking flights at a higher capacity.

What to know about COVID-19

The novel coronavirus is a worsening pandemic in the United States. It is a new disease to humans, and therefore there is a significant amount of information about it that we still don't know. Scientists believe the primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through air droplets spread from person to person.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask.

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