You know that thing where transportation companies put profits ahead of passenger safety, as in say that recent shockingly overstuffed United flight (see featured image) or, bear with us, that little incident with the RMS Titanic? My, how much some things haven’t changed since 1912 when that great ship went down.
That’s because even as the world’s biggest airline by revenue, Delta, is blocking middle seats in light of the coronavirus pandemic, not everyone is following suit. In fact, thanks to some nasty number-crunching goons at IATA, not even the blocked middle seat development may last for much longer. Passenger safety and well-being? Oh, sure.
Not. Consider that according to new but non-binding European Commission protocols airlines will not have to leave middle seats empty. Which is interesting, because down on the ground, in the **open air**, no European government we know of would agree that 2 inches constitutes adequate social distancing. The distance between seats on your average Airbus 320 is nonexistent: for all practical purposes, they touch.
But in a stuffed metal tube with the words Ryanair or whatever splashed on the outside though, apparently the sardine sandwiching is just fine and dandy. Make no mistake: the failure to follow Delta’s no-middle-seat lead is tantamount to IATA giving you, gentle passenger, the middle finger. Because the thing is—and it’s a very. big. thing.—airplanes are what spread COVID-19 in the first place.
And the reality is that even with a mandatory mask-wearing rule, expecting that everybody is going to keep their mask on during the whole flight is like expecting Chrissy Teigen to be the next Secretary of State—prolly not gonna happen. And so the risk of contagion will still be startlingly real, as we have just seen with United. Leading infectious disease specialists have already stated what IATA has already said: that the reason for not keeping middle seats blocked is economics. Pure, simple, toxic economics.
But Delta is not United, and it isn’t headquartered in Brussels. The airline is to be applauded for putting health and safety above short-term profit motive. Will fellow Sky Team Alliance partner airlines Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, AeroMexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, and Vietnam Airlines follow?
For your safety and for your family’s safety, we anticipate many travelers will insist on more sensible policies or just stay home…something IATA might want to think about.