Some airlines guarantee they will continue to block middle seats while others make no promises. But you don’t have to rely on an airline to ensure you have a blocked middle seat: whatever airline you fly, no matter the flight, you can secure an open seat next to you by buying a second seat.
A Foolproof Blocked Middle Seat Guarantee: How To Always Have An Open Seat Next To You…
As common sense as it sounds, that seems to be lost on a lot of people. CNBC, for example, published a story today entitled, 63% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay more to have seats blocked—here are the airline policies on this. The poll comes from American Express and I do not doubt it. But I have good news for those 63% of consumers: you don’t have to leave it to chance or fly an extra connection on Delta, JetBlue, or Southwest.
As long as you buy a day or so in advance, you can ensure you always have an open seat next to you by buying it. Let’s first, however, look at what airline seat blocking polices are.
Which Airlines Are Blocking Seats?
- Alaska Airlines – makes an effort to block seats, but does not guarantee it
- Allegiant Airlines – will sell flights to capacity
- American Airlines – will sell flights to capacity
- Delta Air Lines – middle seats blocked through September 30, 2020
- Frontier Airlines – will sell flights to capacity
- Hawaiian Airlines – makes an effort to block seats, but does not guarantee it
- JetBlue – middle seats blocked through October 15, 2020
- Southwest Airlines – open seating, but flights only booked to 2/3 capacity, so no change to sit next to a stranger through October 31, 2020
- Spirit Airlines – will sell flights to capacity
- United Airlines – will sell flights to capacity
Now, back to the topic at hand. Unless you are buying at the very last minute on one of the rare flights that are full, you can buy and immediately reserve two adjacent seats at once. Call the “passenger” in the second seat EXTRA/SEAT. Sadly, you won’t be able to earn miles on that ticket.
I write this because the aforementioned poll says passengers are willing to pay more to have seat blocked. If you are looking for a cheaper option, then perhaps you should check out Delta, JetBlue, or Southwest which may be a tad pricier but won’t require you to buy two seats.
But here’s one more hint. We read complaints or see pictures of the occasional full flight on social media, but those flights tend to make headlines because they are so rare. It’s a dreary time for the airline industry and U.S. airlines are operating at load factors themselves that virtually guarantee you a middle seat.
Feel free to buy the extra seat for peace of mind, but a recent United trip that included four hub-to-hub flights demonstrated how demand continues to suffer. There was no guaranteed middle seat blocking, but no one had a stranger next to them.
Yes, you really can buy an extra seat..or even the whole row. In that sense, you always have an option to social distance on an airplane if you care to.