American Back To Packing Planes


American Airlines has announced it will run its flights at full capacity starting July 1. In the past few months American and most other airlines have blocked off all or some of the middle seats in Economy but that will stop on Wednesday. “As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are booked to capacity starting July 1,” the airline said in its note to customers. Those who are not nostalgic for the pre-COVID travel norms can move to less crowded flights if they are available and don’t cost more. 

To combat the virus, American is requiring passengers to wear masks and lobbying airports to do the same. It’s also going to start making passengers certify that they haven’t had COVID-19 symptoms in the 14 days prior to their flight before letting them board. Bookings are up substantially in recent weeks but all airlines are running drastically reduced schedules so load factors have risen substantially.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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      • Everything you do within the Covid-19 pandemic has always been a personal choice. The problem is that with this disease it’s a choice that doesn’t just affect you. Since you can pass it on long before you become aware that you have it, your choice affects everyone you come in close contact with afterwards, including your loved ones.

      • So in other words, no one. “Well, I wasn’t around that person who got covid for more than a few minutes, so I’m sure I’m fine”.

  1. Does anyone else see the incredible irony here? We are still cancelling air shows/races (see Reno article), demanding social distancing for patrons in restaurants , churches, businesses, etc, yet we can pack ‘em in a pressurized tube for hours safely? Yes, I’m aware of the airflow pattern in the aircraft, but are there cute little lexan dividers between the seats? Even theater seating isn’t that close. Ahh, but we “certify” that we are “clean.” Now we rely on the intelligence and integrity of each passenger, which sadly, many people seem too lack in one or the other. I understand the financial position of the airlines, and hope they can survive and return to where they were, but these “safety” plans are basically stroke my fur and make me purr. As are many other required measures in other areas. Why not just say “Board with whatever measures you are comfy with?”

  2. What a crock–I flew American domestically in April and May, and ALL of my flights were completely full with the exception of one E175 leg which was at about 75%. In fairness, the fares were ridiculously low, but they’re escalating quickly as I’m sure the CEO’s are eager to start repaying the government for their “loans.” Here’s an idea–how about increasing frequencies to ensure social distancing??

    Cattle version II with no service; instead a complimentary mask!

  3. Just did a 6.5 hour drive one way to and from a training provider for recurrent to avoid airlining. To get home from a trip I will be flying on Wednesday it will be a 7.5 to 8 hour drive home to avoid airlining again, and my FO wants to avoid airlines also. Obviously there is a limit to driving but I have not hit that yet. Until the mask requirement goes away I will be doing a lot of driving as long as the schedule works out to do so.

  4. The only good news is American said they are going back to 55% of their precovid schedule, domestically, in July. Maybe that will create some empty seats.

  5. “To combat the virus, American is requiring passengers to wear masks and lobbying airports to do the same. It’s also going to start making passengers certify that they haven’t had COVID-19 symptoms in the 14 days prior to their flight before letting them board.”

    To combat the virus, American Airlines expects the passengers and airports to do what is minimally part of the steps to slow the spread of Covid-19 such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and mask wearing. But American Airlines will not do likewise other than require wearing a mask. Then American adds that firm stance of Covid-19 symptom self certification. How can that be accomplished when over 40% of Covid-19 infected people are asymptomatic? Secondly, without easily accessible, affordable, local testing (which could reveal those asymptomatic but Covid-19 infected), many of the Covid-19 symptoms mirror symptoms of common other sicknesses. Does the passenger have a cold, an allergy, the flu, or Covid-19? Who knows?

    So what is a passenger actually self certifying? 40% or more are clueless to their own condition. That’s no help. The remaining people are simply promising on what?… an oath, providing Covid-19 test results, swearing on a stack of Bibles, signing an airline release of liability if infected, certifying I have had no symptoms of Covid-19 in the last 14 days? Yeah…I love you and the check is in the mail. And all of this packing of the airplanes comes at a time when the US has broken all the records for single day new Covid-19 infections for almost a week now.

    I used to think hindsight was 20/20. Not any more. Record breaking Covid-19 infections as a result of opening up the country way too soon with many rural and now city hospitals already at 100% capacity, politician posturing that increase testing is most of the reasons for new infection knowledge ( pay no attention to those overworked doctors, nurses, pulmonary specialists, first responders behind those ICU curtains, and those dying a slow death…for I am the powerful, all knowing political, health guru OZ), 500-1000 per day US death counts, global infections including daily death counts that are exponentially going off the charts seems to mean nothing to a significant majority of US citizens nor American Airlines.

    With this kind of “the bottom line is the bottom line” logic, there will be future empty seats alright. Many potential future airline passengers will not be statistically available because of insane business decisions made today. This combined with so many people who think Covid-19 is “overblown” will soon reveal the grim consequences. I am sure the herd mentality of the other airlines will be soon contributing to this needless but inevitable future carnage as well since American Airlines has now set the precedence.

    I also could not help but notice in the photo leading into this discussion, nary a gray hair in sight. Very interesting.

  6. I do not understand how you guys posting here expect people to pay their mortgage and by food for their family if they don’t get back to work?

    There’s millions of people that are maintenance/repair that can’t fix equipment over the internet. I’m glad you folks commenting here have yours… but, what about the rest of us?

  7. I sense that under the current COVID-19 spread resurgence, AA (not an idiocracy) will opt to delay the packing of flights, as the majority of the flying public believes that the pandemic is real, aggressive, highly contagious, painful, inconvenient and costly.

    • You would think so. But the estemed infectious disease experts who populate the public relations departments at Delta and United just doubled down on their assertion that social distancing (or lack thereof) in airliners has no effect on corona virus transmission. Meanwhile, that well know provocateur and naysayer Anthony Fauci claims otherwise.