Travelers Brace for Airline Changes

Nico Payne

This past week American Airlines announced it will start resuming full flights but will notify passengers when their planes are full giving them the option to switch. NBC Palm Springs spoke to travelers who had opinions on both the limited and full capacity.

Many U.S. airlines have had to roll with the changes during the Covid-19 pandemic. That means mandatory face maks, heightened cleaning procedures, and encouraging social distancing as much as possible.

Some airlines like Delta and Southwest have been capping their capacity around 60% as cases continue to increase in at least 40 states.

“I’m not comfortable with that, the plane I was on was small enough that I had to sit two and two, there was no choice of that, they’re pretty full, but everybody I saw was wearing a mask and compliant,” said Revone Bauwens visiting from Tucson, Arizona.

American Airlines did say they will notify passengers once flights are full and allow them to changes flights to lesser crowded planes until September 30th.

“The amount of seat on the aircraft are in high demand,” said Ralph Lopez, VP of Integrated Operations Center with American Airlines.

Lopez says American airlines are requiring travelers to answer a health questionnaire and face masks must be worn.

“If customers refuse to wear a mask we will limit their travel,” added Lopez.

Regular travelers say flying has become stressful with increased wait times and more regulations but say people should still travel.

“I think there is a lot of stress in traveling now and but at the same token you need to get out there and get back in the swing of things and travel,” said Bob Woodger, visiting from Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I think they are doing well now, I’m sorry that we didn’t do a better job in the last couple of weeks, but if we can just stick with it, I think we’ll do well but we just can’t back off,” explained Bauwens.

American Airlines also says once onboard, passengers may move to a different seat in their cabin if available.

But many health experts, including the CDC, say flying may increase the risk of exposure.

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