Even as coronavirus cases jump, fewer airlines blocking out middle seats

About 15M Americans expected to travel by plane this summer

Some airlines have begun eliminating a policy of blocking out middle seats on flights, which was implemented to protect passengers during the coronavirus pandemic, even as cases surge in some states throughout the U.S.

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About 15 million Americans are expected to travel by plane this summer, according to data from AAA. Between July 1 and Sept. 30, the firm expects a 74 percent decline in volume when compared with the same period last year.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are rising in more than 30 states ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend – including places like Texas, California and Florida.

Here’s a look at some of the airlines that have committed to returning flights to full capacity:

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American Airlines

American Airlines said last week that beginning July 1, flights may be booked to capacity.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.13.54-0.19-1.38%
UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.36.40-0.43-1.17%
SAVESPIRIT AIRLINES INC.17.85-0.19-1.05%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.29.09-0.55-1.86%
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.35.25-0.04-0.11%

The airline said it would continue to notify customers so that they had the option of switching to a less crowded flight.

United Airlines

United Airlines confirmed in a statement to FOX Business on Friday that it began allowing customers to select the middle seat as of July 1.

On regularly scheduled flights that it expects to be fairly full, United says it will do its best to reach out to customers to notify them.

Spirit Airlines

According to Spirit’s website, it will only be promoting social distancing when possible, but some flights “may be more full than others.”

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On the other hand, Delta and Southwest have committed to leaving middle seats open on flights through September.

JetBlue has said it will continue to block middle seats on larger aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft through the end of July.

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