American Airlines Will Limit The Number of Seats They Sell To Promote Social Distancing

Delta has stopped selling more than 60% of seats in any cabin, not more than 50% in domestic first class, in order to promote social distancing. This means they can put an empty seat between each passenger. Neither American nor United were doing this.

Sometime recently, perhaps during the day yesterday, American changed its policy. It doesn’t look like they’re going as far as Delta, but as JonNYC reports the airline is also capping ticket sales and has done an about face on prior policy and will even take volunteers to travel later in order to avoid filling up planes.

Through May 31 flights will have customer limits, and gate agents whose flights are over the limit will follow American’s process for soliciting volunteers. After increasing compensation offers, if there aren’t enough volunteers, American will process involuntary denied boardings to prevent going over these limits.

On most flights this won’t be an issue. Customers aren’t buying that many tickets. And by limiting seats available for sale there won’t be an issue of oversales requiring volunteers.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If they’re truly limiting passengers take out the seats that’ll be sure and spaces out!!

  2. We’ll see how long this lasts. It’s unsustainable. Not even governments can indefinitely – never mind even 6 months – subsidize the losses. Look though for many destinations dumped, reduced flights. Ticket prices and fees will skyrocket. Ekonomiks and Accounting 101. It’s possible over some time that we’ll see more mergers (not much left though to merge, but then again, that was the idea when the last big 3 mergers took place). The squeeze on air travel is on. The golden age of travel was 50 plus years ago. Flying sucked since the early 1990s. With new lows being reached each year one wonders if sitting on an orange crate in a DC-3 is the back-to-the future of travel. What goes around comes around.

  3. Wonder if they are going to do this at school classrooms also? Movie theaters? Restaurants? Concerts? Will you get compensated if you can’t get in?

  4. Enjoy it while you can…brings back memories of AA’s former “more room throughout coach” nad TWA’s “Comfort Class”.


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