United: Blocking middle seats on planes is a ‘PR strategy, not a safety strategy’

(CNBC) — United Airlines on Wednesday dismissed the notion that blocking some seats on board would keep passengers safer from Covid-19, as policies among U.S. airlines diverge.

Delta, JetBlue and Southwest have said they will blocking some seats on board, an effort to put travelers at ease about flying during the pandemic.

“When it comes to blocking middle seats, that’s a PR strategy, that’s not a safety strategy,” said Josh Earnest, United’s chief communications officer on a call with reporters. “When you’re on board the aircraft, if you’re sitting in the aisle, and the middle seat is empty, the person across the aisle is within six feet from you, the person at the window is within six feet of you, the people in the row in front of you are within six feet of you, the person in the row behind you are within six feet of you.”

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