Home / Business / Senator Jeff Merkley beat up American Airlines for grabbing the middle seats in his plane

Senator Jeff Merkley beat up American Airlines for grabbing the middle seats in his plane

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, tweeted a picture showing his full flight on Thursday. Most of the passengers in the photo were blurry, but it is clear that some wore masks and many were seated in the middle seat.
“@AmericanAir: How many Americans will die if you fill the middle seats with your customers shoulder to shoulder every hour. It’s incredibly irresponsible,” he tweeted. “People eat and drink on airplanes and have to take off masks. In no case can you not promote the spread of COVID infections.”

He followed on Friday: “Many people yesterday responded to my tweet about the irresponsible sale of middle seats in airplanes and said: ̵

6;Wouldn’t it be nice if someone in the Senate did something about it?’ You’re right. “

“I’m going to introduce a bill to ban the sale of middle seats through this pandemic, and I’ll work with colleagues to include them in a package of airline accountability reforms they’re working out,” he tweeted.

American Airlines said in a statement on Friday: “We are steadfastly committed to the safety and well-being of our customers and team members. We have several layers of protection for those who fly with us, including the required facial cleaning procedures and a COVID-19- Pre-flight symptom checklist – and we offer customers additional flexibility to change their travel plans. “

It added, “We know that our customers trust us to make every aspect of their trip safe, and we are committed to doing just that.”

American didn’t respond directly to Merkley’s first tweet, but to a Twitter user who retweeted it and said, “That’s exactly why I didn’t fly my family from Texas to Maine. @AmericanAir. That’s shameful. I’ve been Flown with you for years. I will never do it again. “
“We have implemented many layers of protection, including improved cleaning and the need for facewear,” the airline replied, referring to a press release describing the “clean commitment.”

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines, Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines said they would continue to restrict seating to allow some social detachment.

United Airlines said Wednesday that it does not believe that leaving the middle seats alone will protect passengers from the corona virus.

“When it comes to blocking medium-sized seats, it’s a PR strategy, not a security strategy,” Josh Earnest, the airline’s top spokesman, told reporters.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this week that “American Airlines was significantly disappointed” when the airline announced it would stop restricting seat sales.

At a Senate committee hearing on Covid-19 on Tuesday, Redfield said aircraft and mass transport security was a “critical area”.

“I can tell you that there was obviously a significant disappointment in American Airlines’ announcement of the other day,” said Redfield. “I can say that we are currently being critically examined at CDC. We do not believe that this is the right message.”

The CDC has said that “although illness can occur as a direct result of air travel, it is unusual.” Most viruses do not spread easily on airplanes, according to the agency, because the air is circulated and filtered. Modern commercial aircraft circulate 10-50% of the air in the cabin, mixed with outside air.

CNN Health’s Amanda Watts, Pete Muntean, Holly Yan, Melissa Mahtani, Harmeet Kaur and Scottie Andrew contributed to this report.

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