The Evening Standard

Coronavirus: US experts raise concerns about full airline flights

July 1, 2020

The government's top expert in infectious diseases has criticised American Airlines' decision to fill flights while the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow across much of the United States. Dr Anthony Fauci told a Senate panel that "obviously that’s something that's of concern", adding that he was "not sure what went into that decision making".

Several US airlines say they're limiting capacity on planes to between 60% and 67% of all seats. However, United Airlines never promised to leave seats empty, and American Airlines said last week that starting on Wednesday it would drop its effort to keep half of all middle seats empty. The bosses of both airlines have said that even with middle seats empty, it’s impossible to follow 6-foot social-distancing on a plane, so airlines rely on masks, deep cleaning and air-filtration systems on planes to prevent spreading the virus.