Empty seats don’t always have to be free.As a response to the coronavirus pandemic, many airlines are looking for ways to promote social distancing
Empty seats don’t always have to be free.
As a response to the coronavirus pandemic, many airlines are looking for ways to promote social distancing on their airplanes. This includes limiting the number of passengers allowed on each flight, which in turn means that airlines are purposely keeping several seats empty on their flights.
One pilots’ union is asking the government to pay for those empty seats.
The Allied Pilots Association, a labor union representing American Airlines pilots, issued a proposal asking the government to purchase a certain number of seats per flight, Fortune reports. This will allow airlines to keep passengers from being forced to sit next to other passengers.
According to the news outlet, airlines are leaving as many as 40 percent of their seats empty, a situation they have said is unsustainable.
The union’s president, Eric Ferguson, reportedly said that air traffic is still at only 20 percent of where it was this time in 2019. He described the situation as “quite dire.”
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He explained that the proposal would not only provide financial benefit to airlines, but it would also have other benefits, such as ensuring that passengers knowing that they won’t be sat directly next to a stranger.
“Passengers would be encouraged to fly more,” Ferguson said, as “airlines would be encouraged to operate more flights, and the government would ensure the preservation of critical transportation infrastructure and associated jobs.”
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The cost for this proposal would reportedly be about $1.9 billion a month, but this would just be for the 10 largest carriers in the US flying about 40 percent of their normal capacity.