Is it safe to fly as pandemic continue to sweep the US?

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American Airlines aircraft take off

If you take on American Airlines flight after July 1 you may end up in a crowded cabin. The airline announced last week that it will no longer put restrictions on the number of seats it sells on each flight, according to Reuters. How is that not concerning?

According to most recent information published by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention the states of California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, and Texas (the home base of American Airlines) report spikes in hospitalizations due to Covid-19. Apparently the containment of the pandemic in the US is far from over. Allowing crowded flights at this stage is alarming for travelers, in the least.

Crowded United Airlines Flight in the covid-19 pandemic

Initially, American restricted passenger capacity to 85% per flight when left most of its middle seats empty to ensure social distancing. However, now it wants to do the opposite. According to American they have to let you know if the flight is full.

If you end up one of those American Airlines flights you have the option to chose another, less crowded flight, if available. It is very similar to what United Airlines does currently to manage its passenger capacity. But what if you don’t have an alternative option? Should you refuse to fly because of health concerns? And what happens to your flight booking in this scenario? Will it be refundable? What if you need to travel on the day and cannot re-book? There are simply too many if-s.

The American Airlines website states: “We’re extending our offer to waive change fees on existing and new tickets for summer travel through September 30, 2020. This offer includes Basic Economy and AAdvantage® award tickets.”

We have to commend Delta Airlines and Southwest, however, who still do not think is safe to crowd people shoulder to shoulder on their airplanes in the name of profit margins. Both airlines will continue to enforce limited capacity until September of this year.

Even though airlines are performing deep and thorough cleaning of their cabins after each flight the risk of having people enclosed in such an environment poses its own risks. Airlines attempt to rebut this fear by claiming that air-filters on planes are very good at catching pathogens.

Regardless, is it safe to fly as the pandemic continue to sweep the US? It really becomes a personal choice. However, if you need to travel – stay informed. Search airlines’ websites for Covid-19 policies before you book your flight. If you still cannot get a clear picture of what’s going on call the airline up and ask your questions about what steps the airlines takes to limit the spread of the corona virus before you book your flight.

Find more information about Covid-19 policies on the following domestic and international US carries websites:

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Ian Powers is a travel blogger and nature enthusiast. Ian has over 20 years of aviation travel experience.

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