JetBlue Extends Generous Seat Blocking Policy Through September 8

Filed Under: JetBlue

JetBlue has just extended its seat blocking policy for several additional weeks once again.

JetBlue guarantees you won’t sit next to a stranger

Through September 8, 2020, JetBlue is promising that you won’t sit next to a stranger on a flight. Until recently this policy was valid through July 31, while this has now been extended for several more weeks.

With this seat distancing policy:

  • Middle seats will be blocked on all Airbus A320 & A321 aircraft (where the configuration is 3-3)
  • Aisle seats will be blocked on all Embraer 190 aircraft (where the configuration is 2-2)
  • Passengers traveling together will be allowed to sit together in seats that would otherwise be blocked

The way JetBlue is going about this is interesting, though. If you look at Embraer 190 seatmaps you’ll notice that in some cases they show pairs of seats available.

Presumably this is so that those traveling together can select seats together, and so that JetBlue can sell more than 50% of seats on flights. Personally if I were traveling on an Embraer 190 with someone I’d select window seats across the aisle from one another, so that we’d have the whole row to ourselves.

I would assume that if someone is traveling alone and selects a seat in a row that shows a vacant seat pair, the other seat would be blocked.

JetBlue acknowledges that even blocked seats won’t give people six feet of distance on planes, though some distance is still better than no distance. Therefore the seat blocking is in addition to JetBlue’s policy of requiring passengers to wear face masks, as it was the first US airline to announce such a policy.

JetBlue’s “Safety from the Ground Up” program

Seat blocking is only one of JetBlue’s many measures to keep passengers and employees safe, with what the airline calls the “Safety from the Ground Up” program.

JetBlue notes the following initiatives it’s taking to keep 23,000 crew members safe:

  • Conducting temperature checks for pilots and flight attendants
  • Providing paid sick leave and additional time off programs so employees do not come to work sick
  • Following company-wide protocols for reporting cases of the coronavirus, notifications, and return to work clearance
  • Providing disinfectant kits for pilot use on the flight deck
  • Requiring face coverings for all employees while boarding, in flight, and when physical distancing cannot be maintained

Furthermore, JetBlue is implementing the following policies to ensure social distancing:

  • Requiring face coverings for all customers during check-in, boarding, and inflight
  • Blocking middle seats on larger aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft for those not traveling together
  • Providing the most space between each row of seats in economy of any US airline and spacious seating on all aircraft
  • Providing touchless check-in and boarding experiences using the JetBlue mobile app and self-boarding gates for many flights
  • Implementing a back-to-front boarding process for most passengers to minimize passing in the aisle
  • Adjusting on board service including pre-sealed snack and beverage bags in economy, and pre-packaged fresh meals in Mint
  • Using personal devices as remotes for seatback screens on select planes

Bottom line

JetBlue will make sure that no one sits next to a stranger on flights through September 8, 2020. JetBlue isn’t doing this by simply capping capacity at 50-67% (depending on the aircraft type), but rather flights could be a bit fuller if there are lots of people traveling together who choose to sit next to one another, as this will increase the number of seats the airline can sell.

Delta Air Lines arguably has an even more generous seat blocking policy, and that’s valid through September 30, 2020. The same is true for Southwest Airlines, which is also blocking middle seats through September 30, 2020.

If you care about having an empty seat next to you, pick your airline wisely this summer. And personally if I were flying I’d go out of my way to select an airline that’s blocking seats.

What do you make of JetBlue’s seat blocking policy?

Comments
  1. I flew JetBlue on 5/17. They followed through with most of these promises but the flight was boarded by traditional boarding zones which I was displeased about. Additionally, this is no reflection on the airline but passengers behaved the way they always do aside from wearing masks: storming the door area the second boarding starts, lining up tightly in the jet bridge, standing up to rush off the plane the second it parks at the gate.

  2. I have a JetBlue flight coming up 4th of July weekend so I’m glad this policy will still hold by then.

  3. Good for JetBlue.

    Get used to it (and United and American, take note). This is the future of travel, at least until a vaccine is widely available.

    as for this…

    I flew JetBlue on 5/17. They followed through with most of these promises but the flight was boarded by traditional boarding zones which I was displeased about. Additionally, this is no reflection on the airline but passengers behaved the way they always do aside from wearing masks: storming the door area the second boarding starts, lining up tightly in the jet bridge, standing up to rush off the plane the second it parks at the gate.

    People are idiots – look around you. There are limits to what can be done. You may not be able to fix stupid, but you can at least implement smart policies and hope people behave. Hopefully those that refuse to behave are all taking high doses of hydroxychloroquine and shooting up Lysol.

  4. If being next to somebody or in a crowd bothers you this day and age may I suggest that you stay home and don’t fly…

  5. I’ve been terribly concerned about flying back to NYC from CA. Jet blue is my airline of choice. I’m isolated in CA until the end of August, I hope JB extends this practice through the summer.

  6. @Dick Bupkiss, None of these restrictions will last until “a vaccine is available”.

    A vaccine isn’t coming for a long time, and maybe never.

  7. JetBlue once again offering a more civilized experience, they get my business whenever routing allows. Last week I needed to take AA from MIA to ORD, in first. Every single seat on that plane was occupied.

  8. I always wonder what jetBlue would look life if they ended up merging with Virgin America (IMO: jetBlue would have made more sense than Alaska. We need more B6 on the West Coast!)

  9. On CNBC, CEO said those removing masks in flight and not listening to FA directions to put back on could find themselves banned from future JB flights.

    While I don’t want this to actually happen to anyone, my bet is there will be at least one Karen who finds herself banned from JB by the end of the summer

  10. 1. I don’t think this is “generous.” I think it’s expected. Expected of all airlines long overdue. Let’s face it, the Coronavirus didn’t arrive by walking; it traveled around the world by flying. That aside, kudos to JB and Delta for at least they are no longer airlines in denial.

    2. Sitting one person directly behind another (by the windows) is “better” than nothing, but it’s a flawed design. Image sitting in front of someone coughing. Image when the person behind you stands up (directly over your head) to go to the bathroom. Kudos, again, for JB’s efforts, but it’s time for all airlines to reconfigure (rip out every other seat),

    3. Extending this policy throughout July is a start, but it needs to be permanent and a beginning for real change.

  11. Jet Blue, Delta and Southwest have made a decent start, considering the prevalence of greedy bean counters within their organizations.

    To take a genuine stab at protecting their customers and staffs, they should keep every other row empty. Lateral spacing is only half the picture; front to back spacing is just as, if not more, critical in avoiding transfer of droplets carrying the virus.

    Morons who either refuse to wear masks or take them off in an airport or flight setting without good reason should be arrested and prosecuted for at least reckless endangerment, if not attempted murder. This is a DEADLY virus.
    Wake up folks!

  12. American and United guarantee you won’t sit next to a stranger: ” John, I’d like you to meet Bob, your seatmate.”

  13. I mean even if you think the virus is a hoax, isn’t having a guaranteed empty middle a much more comfortable way to fly? I can’t see why you wouldn’t fly one of the many airlines blocking middle seats if you need to fly right now unless there’s a very large price difference.

  14. Leapfrog DL and WN…. extend to 31DEC2020. The entier year has been a blur anyway, so there’s really not much harm by doing so.

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