Southwest Airlines says it will sell every seat


(CNN) — Southwest Airlines is about to sell every seat on board its flights.

The news that the airline will no longer keep middle seats open comes on the heels of Southwest announcing record financial losses because of the pandemic.

In a Thursday earnings report, Southwest announced it will no longer limit capacity on flights starting December 1. The change marks an end to Southwest’s pandemic policy and allows it the opportunity to fill planes through the typically busy holiday travel season.

“This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now,” Southwest said. “Today, aligned with science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations, we will resume selling all available seats for travel beginning December 1, 2020.”

That leaves Delta Air Lines as the final remaining big four carrier to limit capacity in aircraft cabins. Executives have said that policy will continue until next year.

United Airlines and American Airlines have been selling every seat for months. Alaska Airlines announced Thursday it will extend its policy of blocking middle seats until January 6, 2021.

A recently released Defense Department study found that among mask-wearing airplane passengers, the risk of airborne droplet transmission in airplanes is limited due to specialized air flow and filtration systems.

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