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Congressman considers bill banning sales of middle seats on planes

Congressman considers bill banning sales of middle seats on planes
Posted at 3:09 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 17:09:06-04

Should airlines be banned from selling the middle seat until the pandemic ends?

At least one member of Congress thinks so and will be introducing legislation soon to do just that.

THE CONTROVERSY

American Airlines, United Airlines, Spirit, Sun Country, and Allegiant have all begun selling middle seats again.

Photographs of crowded cabins have begun to emerge around the country.

That includes a tweet by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, who criticized Americans Airlines for the decision.

Merkley now is on a mission to ban the sale of middle seats until the pandemic ends.

"It has to make a difference when someone is that close to you," Merkley said this week.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is one of the nation's foremost experts on the pandemic, also criticized airlines for selling those seats.

"I mean, obviously that is something of a concern," Fauci told a Senate panel last week.

POLICIES DIFFER FROM AIRLINE TO AIRLINE

Every airline is adopting a different policy when it comes to middle seats.

As of this writing, American Airlines, United Airlines, Spirit, Sun Country, and Allegiant have all begun selling middle seats.

Meanwhile, carriers such as Alaska Airlines, Delta, Southwest, Frontier and Jet Blue are not selling those seats for now with many set to start selling them again in October.

COULD THIS ACTUALLY PASS?

Delta CEO Ed Bastian has been critical of airlines selling middle seats at this present time but he is against any congressional action.

"I am not an advocate for adding regulation at this point," Bastian told CNN this week.

That's key, because Republicans who control the Senate are likely to listen to the business community when it comes to future legislation.