Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today reported its third quarter 2020 results and they weren’t pretty. They had a net loss of $1.2 billion.
Because of Southwest’s huge financial loss, which isn’t even as bad as other airlines, they issued this statement today. “We are one of just a few airlines in the world that limits the number of seats available for sale to promote distancing onboard our aircraft, and we will continue to do so through November. This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now. Today, aligned with science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations, we will resume selling all available seats for travel beginning December 1, 2020. We are pairing this change with enhanced flexibility for Customers on fuller flights to rebook to another flight, if desired.”
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Southwest Airlines has been one of the few U.S. airlines to block middle seats (here are the others) during the fall. However, it looks like that’s coming to an end on December 1st. The good news is that Southwest will allow customers to rebook on a flight that’s not as full if you’re uncomfortable flying packed like sardines on a plane.
You gotta be the only person besides Southwest executives to think this is a good thing. Don’t think any customer would be happy to be in a packed plane especially during a pandemic.
— JohnnyJet (@JohnnyJet) October 22, 2020
I would rather fly with it blocked just for comfort, but it’s got to end. Is there really a difference between someone sitting beside you, or a few feet right in front / behind you? Does the virus not go over/between seats? I think a lot of people put trust in safety “theater” and really don’t think through things. I have flown 6 times so far since March and have never been scared, but I also haven’t been hiding in my house either.