Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield at a congressional hearing on Tuesday expressed “substantial disappointment” with American Airlines for its new policy of filling its planes to capacity despite the coronavirus.
Redfield said under questioning from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), that American Airlines’ new policy, announced on Friday, contrasts with other airlines that had allowed middle seats to remain open to increase distance between passengers to help limit the spread of the virus.
“I can tell you that when they announced that the other day, obviously there was substantial disappointment with American Airlines,” Redfield said at a Senate Health Committee hearing. “A number of the airlines had decided to keep the middle seat [open].”
American Airlines’ new policy of filling its planes to capacity will begin on Wednesday. The airline did say it would notify passengers and allow them to move to more open flights when available, at no extra cost.
In contrast, Delta Air Lines is capping capacity at about 60 percent and Southwest Airlines at about 67 percent, according to the Associated Press. The policy of United Airlines matches American’s.
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