Travel Ban Airlines From Booking Middle Seats
Will future pandemics be covered by travel insurance? Experts say yes
Even if you never thought much about travel insurance or trip protection in the past, these policies may be top of mind now. After all, the coronavirus pandemic has forced all of us to read the fine print on our credit card trip protection benefits, as well as travel cancellation and rebooking policies. Visit TPG’s …According to Google Trends, there’s been a meteoric rise in travel insurance search queries online, which peaked the week of March 8. Many of these searchers are likely feeling motivated to buy travel insurance policies for future trips.
As more Americans have returned to the air in recent weeks, many have confronted a disturbing reality:. Once just an unwanted nuisance, this longstanding feature of airline travel is perilous and potentially fatal in the age of COVID-19.
While expertsdistancing on airplanes as much as possible—urging high-risk individuals to be especially cautious—many airlines have nonetheless eschewed basic measures to ensure social distancing, and rightfully received widespread condemnation. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon lambasted airlines that book flights to full capacity and he will introduce legislation to temporarily ban the booking of middle seats. Top health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Robert Redfield dismay and urged consumers to be cautious. And are voluntarily limiting booking, likely in hopes of prying fearful customers from competitors.
How far in advance can you book a flight?
One common criticism of airline loyalty programs is that there’s not enough award availability, especially in premium cabins on the most popular routes. The solution for some frequent flyers is to try to snag seats before anyone else by figuring out precisely when they become available. Each airline has its own policy regarding how far …Each airline has its own policy regarding how far in advance you can book flights, with either cash or miles. Knowing how far in advance you can book will save you money with some airlines, as well as help you snag any initial award availability before it’s gone.
But a battle-tested mechanism to protect safety for airline passengers already exists and could be applied immediately to reduce passenger capacity—if only the Trump administration were willing to do it.
The Federal Aviation Administration is charged with promoting safety in the airline industry, and for more than six decades it has used that authority by issuing binding regulations to protect passengers—providing a margin of safety that the airline industry would not provide if left to its own devices. Because of the FAA, planes are properly manufactured and maintained, pilots are adequately trained and rested, and aircraft are stocked with necessary life-saving equipment in case of emergency.
Taking a page from this playbook, the FAA can and should move immediately to limit passenger capacity to better ensure safety during the pandemic. Though hardly a panacea for a contagious virus, measures such as banning sales that cause passengers to sit immediately adjacent to one another would go a long way toward protecting the public. This includes banning middle seats or other seats based on aircraft configuration, such as every other seat in airplanes with two-by-two seating arrangements. (Exceptions could be allowed for families that book together.) Additional mandates such as cleaning and onboarding procedures may also be beneficial.
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Why hasn’t the FAA already taken this commonsense step? After all, the agencythat COVID-19 can spread when passengers and crew do not maintain appropriate distance on board an aircraft—echoing similar guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the FAA has in response to the pandemic, such as suspending training and qualification requirements that could not be met and doling out billions of dollars of relief to affected companies.
The answer lies largely in the fact that the FAA is an executive agency whose administrator was appointed by President Donald Trump and. An arm of the Department of Transportation that takes cues from the White House and high-level executive branch officials, the FAA has unsurprisingly shown itself to be eager to assist the airline industry, just as it has been reluctant to protect passengers and crew members. After all, this lopsided regulatory approach is par for the course in this administration.
I took 7 flights on all the largest US airlines in June. Here's what it's like to fly in America right now.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we fly in more ways than just face masks are now required on most airlines.I almost didn't recognize the aviation industry on my first trip back into the skies in early June. I flew on Delta Air Lines and was shocked to see a semi-empty plane with blocked seats with my ticket allowing for unlimited changes without the normal fee.
While many companies are facing economic hardship resulting from the pandemic, federal agencies have responded byof key safety and environmental regulations that the public relies upon for long-term health and safety. Yet the administration has generally been hands-off when it comes to protecting the public from this dire health emergency. Numerous agencies have with suggestions for protecting consumers and employees but generally declined to issue enforceable or legally binding rules to that effect.
This approach fits within the Trump administration’s broader playbook. Starting on Day 1, the administration has dismantled regulations that were put in place to ensure public health and well-being. This hasthan it has benefitted industry, sometimes with a single pen stroke. While the administration’s anti-regulatory agenda is deadly in normal times, the dire consequences are now .
I flew on the 4 biggest US airlines during the pandemic to see which is handling it best, and found one blew the rest out of the water
I found that, above all, social distancing is a concept that varies depending on what airline you choose to fly on during the pandemic.After on flight on Delta, two flights on American, two flights on United, and two flights on Southwest, I've been adequately reacquainted with flying having been grounded since February.
There are some potential downsides to the FAA forcing airlines to book fewer passengers, though none should stop the agency from acting immediately. For one, limiting capacity could exacerbate the economic hardships facing the airline industry—though, as noted above, some airlines are already voluntarily undertaking restrictions and thus apparently determined that any hit is manageable for them. The FAA can continually evaluate the impacts of any regulation and modify it as more information comes to light. Particularly since taxpayers have provided the airline industry within recent months (with ), sensible controls on the industry to protect passengers are hardly unreasonable.
Another genuine concern is that limiting passenger capacity could mean more flights in the air, increasing planet-warming greenhouse gases that. But let’s be honest: This administration has demonstrated a toward controlling greenhouse gas emissions, so this legitimate concern is not what’s motivating the FAA’s inaction here. Once again, the FAA should study the impacts of a capacity rule—weighing the public-health benefits against the harm from additional emissions—and modify it as necessary. The existence of this trade-off also underscores the urgency for the government to require dramatic reductions in airline pollution through technology-forcing regulations.
Finally, the FAA would need to bypass normal regulatory procedures for a rule to take immediate effect, which is permissible only in narrow circumstances such as a public health or safety emergency. A once-in-a-century pandemic surely qualifies. Ironically, the Trump administration has previously sought to bypass these procedures simply to avoid welfare-enhancing regulations that it did not want to enforce—a tactic courts.
While the nation reels from the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies seem far more interested in boosting affected industry than protecting the public. These options are not mutually exclusive. While the government is taking extraordinary steps to assist the airline industry, the FAA should protect passengers and crewmembers by immediately limiting in-flight capacity.
Alaska Airlines is launching new West Coast routes, joining the list of US airlines switching focus to leisure travelers – here's the full list .
Alaska Airlines is continuing its West Coast expansion with a focus on leisure routes as business travel shows few signs of meaningful recovery.Los Angeles and Palm Springs are the main focus of the route expansion with the former just receiving 12 routes in July. The Seattle-based airline joins American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines, among others, in growing its leisure route networks as demand shifts away from business travel and the pandemic enters its fourth season.