With this week’s announcement that American Airlines will no longer be limiting capacity, which has followed United Airlines announcement last month that they will ‘do their best’ to contact you 24 hours in advance of your flight if it is becoming fairly full, it may be time to reevaluate your temporary preferred airlines in order to maintain your  traveler’s health.
 
Who is Ranking Highest?
Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines rank the highest for extending their decision to block middle seats through September 30th.  Alaska Airlines comes next on our list with the commitment through the end of July.  While all airlines are suggesting, and some enforcing the wearing of masks to board, the social distancing aspect continues to weigh the heaviest on what our clients are telling us is most important to them.
 
Lacking Social Distancing
Although each carrier is providing clear cleaning guidelines (links to all sites below), American Airlines this week announced it would no longer be limiting capacity on their flights.  This decision comes the same week that the US is seeing the highest level of daily positive Covid-19 test results and some hospitals reaching their own capacity for ventilators or rooms in ICU.

United Airlines earlier last month confirmed they were commencing opening up their seating capacity to allow middle seats to be booked.  Both carriers are making efforts to send email notifications 24-hours beforehand to allow travelers to change flights in the event their flight reaches capacity.

The combination of the 24-hour flight change notification and limited available routes does not support the needs of a business traveler’s schedule. Not only would the traveler need to find a new flight, but they would potentially need to reschedule their meeting, changing their hotel and rental car – only to potentially find themselves in the same position for their next flight.
 
Creative Approaches
For those clients that are in a region where flight access for Delta, Southwest or Alaska is not readily available, some of our clients have chosen to purchase an additional seat where middle seats are not being blocked.  Although this is additional cost, it does provide the traveler with the assurance that their company cares, and they acknowledge the importance of the business trip and demonstrating your safety is paramount to temporary cost savings.
 
While this may not be a situation embraced by all companies, the good news is that each of the carriers are taking significant measures to ensure their aircrafts are clean and check in procedures are considerate of time and care to board.  We have listed the links to the above referenced aircraft in relation to their cleaning and health standards.
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