Southwest Will Stop Blocking Middle Seats Ahead of Holiday Travel

Southwest's CEO announced Thursday that middle seats will be unblocked in December.

“This practise of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the virus's behaviour,

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to now,” Southwest chairman of the board and CEO Gary C. Kelly stated. Today, coupled with science-based findings from renowned medical

To facilitate social distance onboard, the airline sells fewer seats than is typical for open-seating airlines. Southwest extended its middle seat ban

Instead, Southwest passengers will have “enhanced flexibility” to change flights, Kelly added. The airline will also enforce its face mask regulation.

Southwest has reduced COVID-19 protocols before: The airline stopped sanitizing armrests and seat belts between flights in August

Southwest will join American Airlines and United Airlines in allowing summer flights to load to capacity by lifting middle seat limitations.

Southwest, like other airlines, saw a 32.8 percent capacity drop in the third quarter of 2020 because to lower passenger demand during the pandemic.

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