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American, United Airlines End Social Distancing, Will Book Flights to Full Capacity



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American Airlines will start booking flights to full capacity in the coming week, ending any effort to promote social distancing on its planes even as the United States sets records for new reported cases of the coronavirus.
American’s move matches the policy of United Airlines but contrasts sharply with rivals that are limiting bookings to create space between passengers to minimize the risk of contagion.
Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst with Atmosphere Research Group, said American “is clearly putting its profitability ahead” of the health of passengers and its own employees.
“Packing an airplane 100% full without health testing in place is a risky business decision,” Harteveldt said. “If someone contracts the COVID-19 virus on a 100% full plane, they’re going to sue American Airlines. Just because another airline is doing it doesn’t mean it’s the right business decision.”
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