American Airlines Will Book Flights 100% Full As Of July 1

Filed Under: American

While demand for travel is still way down compared to last year, we’ve seen a massive increase in travelers over the past few weeks. Given how many aircraft have been grounded by airlines, those flights that are operating tend to be pretty full.

Well, American Airlines flights may be getting even busier as of July 1.

American Airlines will no longer block seats

Since April, American Airlines has been booking flights to at most 85% of capacity, including on both mainline and regional aircraft. While this doesn’t allow for true physical distancing, it at least means that some people won’t have to sit next to strangers.

Well, this will be changing soon. As of July 1, 2020, American Airlines will be booking flights to 100% of capacity. For the first time in a few months, this means you could find yourself on a flight without an empty seat.

American Airlines will stop blocking seats as of July 1

American may give you the option of switching flights

While American Airlines won’t be blocking seats, the airline will continue to notify customers if a flight is expected to be full. If this is the case, customers can move to another flight with more open seats, all without incurring any costs.

This is in addition to American’s change fee waiver policy for travel through September 30, 2020.

If your flight is full, you may be given the option to switch to another flight

How does this compare to other airlines’ policies?

With American Airlines once again booking flights to capacity, how does this compare to other airlines?

Well, United Airlines has been booking flights to 100% capacity this entire time, despite their social distancing sham. On the plus side, the airline has informed customers if flights were projected to be full, and has given them the option of being rebooked on another flight.

Meanwhile three US airlines continue to do an exceptional job when it comes to seat blocking:

As you can see, Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest, are really going above and beyond, while the rest of airlines… aren’t.

Southwest Airlines is blocking one third of seats

Why I can’t blame American for this policy change

I can’t really blame American for this policy change. More specifically, I think the 85% cap made no sense:

  • American isn’t guaranteeing anyone an empty seat next to them with this policy, unlike Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest
  • At that point American doesn’t really have a competitive advantage by blocking 15% of seats, so it seems like there’s value in either guaranteeing empty middle seats or doing nothing, but I don’t see much value to American’s middle ground approach

We can all vote with our wallets. If we care about empty middle seats, we’ll book Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest. If we don’t, we can book other airlines.

American’s policy didn’t create a competitive advantage

American will ask customers to complete health declaration

As of June 30, 2020, American Airlines will ask customers during the check-in process to certify that they have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for the past 14 days. American won’t be the first airline to require this, as United Airlines introduced something similar recently.

Customers will have to complete a health declaration during check-in

Bottom line

As of July 1, 2020, American Airlines will book flights to 100% of capacity. If you are on a particularly full flight you may be contacted and offered a flight change.

American is joining United, which has the same policy.

This is certainly something to be aware of if booking upcoming travel…

  1. The most interesting thing is that JetBlue, Southwest, Delta, and Alaska? aren’t heavily advertising their more perceived customer friendly policies. I mean the CEO of southwest could go on the Today Show or Good Morning America and say we unlike most the other legacy carriers are blocking 1/3 of seatss. They could say the Dallas based and Chicago based airlines are not.

  2. OMG a business is doing what it needs to do to stay in business. THE HORROR!!!

    For the 10 millionth time, nobody is being forced to fly or furthermore forced to fly a specific airline. You don’t feel comfortable? Easy solution! Don’t fly.

    However, let’s stop trashing the airlines for trying to run their business and keep their employees employed.

  3. Well the blocking of seats was purely covid theatre, it has no effect on transmission once onboard, EU airlines have not adopted this seat blocking policy and there has been no adverse reaction from the flying public.

  4. One thing I’m worried about this more than the transmission itself is the number of trouble passengers will get into if they cough for once because of these Karens. I’m worried Asian passengers will be discriminated by those Karens who believe that they are the ‘carriers’ of COVID-19. Imagine if an innocent passenger just coughs, you could see a Karen demanding to speak to the manager (flight purser) and demanding the pax to be pulled off the aircraft. Oh, I really don’t want any more of Mr.Dao (United Airlines incident) episodes to happen once again.

  5. Those airlines blocking seats are simply blocking revenue….best of luck with that. Eventually, American’s decision is what they will all do. This hand-wringing is beyond silly at this point. I flew r/t to FLL a few weeks ago and everyone on board was in compliance with masks and it was about 95% full flights.

  6. American needs the business, they have massive debt.

    Also, it’s American, not a great company.

    Fly Delta or JetBlue

  7. It’s astounding to me, AND TO MOST OF THE WORLD, that as COVID-19 infections are on a meteoric rise in over half the states, Americans (because they are SO VERY SPECIAL, and must have everything they want, when and how they want it) are determined to think only of their extraordinarily important selves, while the pandemic death toll in their country marches inexorably towards 200,000 – plus.

    The U.S., Brazil and Russia. Three countries run by heartless megalomaniacs; a triumvirate doing NOTHING as their populations are being devastated by an illness that other, more intelligent and better-run nations have effectively dealt with.

    By all means, Americans. Fly your little hearts out. But stay within your own borders, please.

  8. That’s why their gate agents are now broadcasting prayers over the PA system before they squeeze you into that middle seat.

  9. If you think couple or inches between seats inside the metal tube protects you from Covid you must be stupid . Boeing and Airbus several time claimed that air inside the aircraft is safe to breath and clean . But people dont want to believe it . They trust their FB news and Twitter troll more than facts . It’s all scare mongering. None of the EU airlines adapted this middle seat free mayhem and covid is down here and they are opening the borders . This is scaremongering and PR stunt by Delta and United ..

  10. 85%? I flew AA in late May and 3 out of my 4 segments were completely full. I was getting notifications practically begging me to change my flight to a later time free of charge.

  11. Delta has also said that folks that take off their mask in-flight and refuse to put them back on will be banned from future Delta flights. I have to fly for work starting in July and will only be taking Delta flights because they’re doing what they can to operate an airline AND keep me from sitting directly next to someone who could be spreading C19. Hopefully others do the same and Delta starts adding flights back to the schedule.

  12. American EXP here, I’ve been avoiding American like the plague, literally. I just took my first post-COVID flight on SW, I still didn’t love it but would have never got on the plane with someone next to me. Empty middle seat made the difference. I also wore a full respirator mask with 99.9% filtration and sanitized liked crazy.

  13. Another reason to fly exclusively on DL or WN these days.

    If AA price out something more than $30 when DL is charging $120, maybe they can afford to block middle seats like DL.


    All these airlines CEOs are ‘conquistadors’ and good friends. They do take a stab at each other but if you pay close attention they rarely try to undermine others at their own expense.

  14. With the reduced number of flights and the increasing number of passengers flying American is doing the right thing. If a passenger wants a open middle seat buy a second ticket, charter a flight or don’t fly!

  15. “we’ve seen a massive increase in travelers over the past few weeks. ” at the same time we have seen massive increases Covid cases in states this very airline service. Absolute idiocy. We will be having this same discussion in 2022 at this rate.

  16. And we wonder why the EU is blocking inbound travel from the US even after the ban is lifted.

  17. @iflyfar apparently you’re misinformed you cannot buy 2 seats, American will cancel a second seat with the same info, on the same flight.

  18. They definitely should be selling EVERY single seat they can. No one is forcing people to travel. If you travel on an AIRPLANE than expect to sit next to someone. If you aren’t ok with that then stay home.

    It’s like these parents that insist their kids can’t go to in class school this fall. They can. It’s called HOME SCHOOLING your kids.

  19. I would like to echo what two other people said above – my AA flight two weeks ago was completely sold out and AA also practically begged me to switch, not only by sending emails in advance but also by asking me to volunteer to switch for cash. I ended up filing a complaint with the DOT because the AA website clearly states they’re limiting how many seats they’re selling, yet in practice my flight was sold out.

  20. Way to lead the way AA and help spread the virus. The US only put up the highest number of new COVID country since the entire pandemic started yesterday. I’m not cramming into a metal tube with all those people.

  21. Yea they dont care when they book the flight(cheap tixs) but then go onbaord and bitch and complain to the flight attendants about the flight being full…..NEWSFLASH, you are JUST as much an inconvenience to others as you think of them being on the SAME PLANE . You dont want to be around other potentially infected ppl, then fly private.

  22. Good for them! Imagine, trying to run a profitable business. The nerve. Don’t like it…fly someone else.

  23. Well… seems the only thing to say to all the posters trashing Americans for flying is: you can F**k right off.

  24. This is a sham, it’s already been happening. On my TPA flight last week the plane was completely full in both directions bc they sold 90% then filled the other seats with standby passengers at the gate. The EXP desk also told me before the flight that only 9 out of 12 seats on the E-175 were to be sold bc of social distancing then they filled the other 3 seats with upgrades at the gate. Devil is in the details…

  25. The Health declaration requirement will solve any and all problems, and eliminate all risks going forward.

  26. Entitlement is strong in the comment section, that’s why we can’t have nice things You don’t want to sit in flights booked to capacity? Don’t fly. Or fly with others. Hysteria at its best.

  27. Oh no, a business decides not to move forward with what spoiled millennials demand. Shocking. Anyone needs a safe space?

  28. @John <—- Too many John here, including a racist one, maybe try to differentiate a bit.

    apparently you’re misinformed !!!!
    you CAN buy 2 seats, just book it under the name "Extraseat" or similar. They will get it.

  29. Sure, blocking middle seat can’t prevent the Wuhan Coronavirus completely

    But hey if blocking means increasing spacing, the infection ratio is reduced, even if it does not have 1.5 meter formal distancing

    Let say 0.1% will be infected on board without blocking middle seat, and 0.01% is the infection rate when blocking seat policy is in place,

    That means 360 less Wuhan virus infection cases DAILY, assuming the daily number of traveller is 400K

  30. The comments are fascinatingly devoid of empathy. Clearly many of you folks haven’t had Covid. I’m 40 and had a 5 day fever and 3 weeks of nonstop coughs. It’s pretty intense. I can only imagine what that would feel like for someone 20-40 years older than me.

    “So don’t fly, snowflake” is bulls**t. You will see people, you will need food, you will need medical care. All of those may affect other people and older generations.

  31. There’s a reason delta and others aren’t heavily marketing their open middle seat policy: there’s zero Medical difference sitting 18” away from someone vs 2” away and if they tried to suggest Otherwise, they’d be sued when someone gets covid on delta

  32. When you have an useless government in charge and don’t put any laws to protect their citizens just think about himself, what do you expect?

  33. Don’t want to sit next to someone else fly private. Too broke for that, then drive! Have no license, WALK!

    Don’t complain about the alternatives being expensive or inconvenient either because if you truly cared about your health then the alternatives would be a no brainer right?

    Yea, you’re jumping on AA because you made the conscious decision to do so. So for the sake of everyone on board, please just wear your mask and shut the hell up.

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