Air Canada, WestJet End Onboard Physical Distancing 01JUL

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Air Canada and WestJet will no longer block the sale of adjacent seats in economy class starting 01JUL.

Air Canada said it would block every adjacent seat in the Economy cabin from 15MAY to 30JUN, 2020 to give guests more personal space. In APR 2020, WestJet announced a similar strategy, stating that the middle seat on its Boeing 737s and 787s and every other seat on its Bombardier Q400 are unavailable to book.

Friday, both carriers said they will revert to health recommendations from the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA has repeatedly expressed it opposes restricting the use of the ‘middle seat’ to create social distancing while onboard aircraft.

"Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low. Mask-wearing by passengers and crew will reduce the already low risk, while avoiding the dramatic cost increases to air travel that onboard social distancing measures would bring," the trade group said in a 05MAY statement.

Transport Canada has taken a different stance, recommending "operators should develop guidance for spacing passengers aboard aircraft when possible to optimize social distancing" as part of its Guidance for the Canadian aviation industry issued in APR.

Canadian airlines are beginning to see an uptick in domestic travel, as restrictions lift in many places across the country, writes Canadian Press. There are still provinces – like Manitoba and the Maritimes—that still have strong restrictions on interprovincial travel while others discourage it.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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