JetBlue Airways said it will continue to block middle seats in rows where passengers are not traveling together through the July 4 holiday.
JetBue will block middle seats on its Airbus aircraft, while it will block aisle seats on its smaller Embraer 190 aircraft. Customers traveling together will be allowed to sit in the middle and aisle seats.
The airline said it will continue its seat distancing program, which is part of its “more space, fewer touchpoints” focus, on flights through at least July 6.
However, JetBlue noted that even with blocked seats, it was challenging to maintain six feet of distance between everyone on board an aircraft and so it requires face coverings for customers.
JetBlue was the first airline in the U.S. to require all passengers to wear face coverings during travel, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The new policy went into effect from May 4.
JetBlue’s announcement comes as airlines strive to regain the public’s confidence in air travel by implementing social distancing as well as cleaning and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“As communities start to reopen and with summer travel kicking off this weekend, more people are beginning to fly and we want them to feel safe on JetBlue,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue.
As part of the airline’s multi-layered “Safety from the Ground Up” program, Jet Blue will roll out temperature monitoring for its flight and in-flight crew members and electrostatic aircraft fogging in June.
JetBlue said its safety program is focused on four areas – healthy crew members; clean air and surfaces; more space, fewer touchpoints; and travel flexibility.
To ensure the health and safety of its 23,000 crew members, the airline will require face coverings for all crew members while boarding, in flight, and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
JetBlue will also conduct more frequent disinfecting of common surfaces like kiosks as well as counters inside its airport terminals and provide hand sanitizer throughout terminals.
Further, the airline will provide touchless check-in and boarding using the JetBlue mobile app, self-boarding gates for many of its flights, and implement a back-to-front boarding process for customers to minimize passing in the aisle.
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