JetBlue CEO on coronavirus protection: People should feel 'completely comfortable' on planes with new rules

All middle seats on JetBlue aircraft will remain empty through Fourth of July weekend

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Continue Reading Below

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes on Thursday said people should feel "completely comfortable" with getting on its airplanes with new rules in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The airline announced Wednesday that it will be keeping all middle seats empty through the Fourth of July weekend so travelers will feel safe while they board its aircraft during the pandemic.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
JBLUJETBLUE AIRWAYS10.56+1.32+14.34%

"The number-one thing we can do at the moment is give people confidence that, you know, if they need to fly, we're going to make it as safe as anything else they may need to do in their lives," Hayes said on FOX Business Network's "Varney & Co." "We know from talking to customers that one of their main concerns is: 'I'm on the airplane. I'm sat next to someone that I don't know, and how can you make me feel better about that?'"

(iStock)

People can opt to use the middle seat, however, in group-travel situations, such as families and friends who may be flying together and want to be seated next to each other.

CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS SEND JETBLUE TO FIRST-QUARTER LOSS

JetBlue is capping flights at 60 percent capacity because the airline is also creating a "buffer zone" for flight attendants to move about the cabins in adherence with federal social-distancing guidelines and to give peace of mind to workers and customers, Hayes said.

People are already starting to express interest in vacation travel for later in the year, he added, highlighting optimism that travel will be safe relatively soon.

CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS SEND JETBLUE TO FIRST-QUARTER LOSS

Hayes also said airlines are grateful for the Trump administration's passage of the CARES Act, which will buy them time until Sept. 30 to retrain pilots and staff to prepare for when the country's economy is fully reopened again.

(iStock)

JetBlue customers and employees are required to wear masks on board the company's aircraft.

SPIRIT, JETBLUE SUSPENDING FLIGHTS TO SOME CITIES AMID CORONAVIRUS, DOT SAYS

Other rules and measures the company has put in place as part of its multilayered "Safety from the Ground Up" program, which is set to roll out temperature monitoring for crew members and electrostatic aircraft fogging next month, include touchless check-in and boarding through the JetBlue mobile app and self-boarding gates; a back-to-front boarding process so customers can minimize passing through the aisle; and pre-sealed snack and beverage bags and pre-packaged fresh meals, among other changes

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

JetBlue has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols for cabin air and surfaces with disinfectant and equipment approved for killing coronavirus. Kiosks and counters are being sanitized more frequently in airport terminals, while increased aircraft cleaning is being done before every flight and overnight — with a focus on high-touch areas. Electrostatic sprayers will be used to fog the inside of JetBlue aircraft, according to the release.

Hand sanitizer is being provided throughout terminals along with disinfectant wipes upon request for passengers. Air on flights is being filtered with hospital-grade HEPA air filters, which changes cabin air completely about every three minutes.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

FOX Business' Cortney Moore contributed to this report.