Congressman suggests middle seats on planes be left empty after seeing packed flight

NEW YORK -- The chairman of a congressional subcommittee is calling on the airline industry to help promote social distancing by reducing the number of seats.

Representative Peter Defazio wants the middle seats on planes to be left empty.

That would decrease capacity on a narrow-body aircraft by 67%.

"Who among the CEOs of A4A carriers would want a member of their own family to be assigned to a middle seat between two potentially contagious passengers in the middle of a global pandemic?"

DeFazio telling Airlines for America CEO Nick Calio that he is "concerned" about more planes filling up as stay at home orders expire around the country.

DeFazio called upon A4A members to "leave at least one seat-width of spacing between passengers," which he said would reduce minimum load factors to roughly 67 percent on narrow-body aircraft.

"The pandemic requires short-term adjustment on the part of every stakeholder, and the sooner we can defeat this insidious virus, the sooner the American public will feel confident about buying airline tickets and traveling again," DeFazio said.

The Oregon Democrat says he was spurred to take action after viewing a recent photo of a packed United Airlines flight from Newark to San Francisco.
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