(Reuters) – Southwest Airlines Co <LUV.N> will continue to limit bookings on its flights through at least July to give passengers space between seats, CEO Gary Kelly told shareholders on Thursday, mirroring a plan by competitor Delta Air Lines Inc <DAL.N>.
Social distancing on planes has become a topic of debate as airlines weigh safety measures to restore confidence in air travel that has collapsed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“You won’t see full flights on Southwest at least through the end of July, and if we do have more demand for that flight, we’ll add additional flights to meet demand,” Kelly said at its annual shareholders’ meeting, which was held virtually.
Delta also plans to continue limiting the number of passengers on each flight through at least July, people told Reuters this week.
Airlines have been operating about 90% fewer flights than normal but are gradually adding flights back to their schedules as demand begins picking up.
A Michigan airport barred an out-of-town visitor from boarding a flight to return home last week after learning that the passenger had recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The Capital Region International Airport in Lansing was alerted by the Ingham County Health Department on May 15 that a person with COVID-19 was possibly planning to board a flight and ignore health orders to quarantine, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said that she obtained a cease-and-desist order to block the passenger from boarding the flight, and even went to the airport herself to make sure the infected person went home to quarantine.
“We can’t have people hopping on planes that are known positive with COVID-19,” Vail told the outlet. “We just can’t.”
An NFL player has anonymously filed a lawsuit against United Airlines over an alleged sexual assault that took place in February. In the lawsuit, which was obtained by Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion, the anonymous player is seeking damages for sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention by United.
The player used the alias of “John Doe 1” to file the lawsuit. The player was sitting next to another man, “John Doe 2,” who is also a part of the lawsuit. The alleged sexual assault took place on a red-eye flight between Newark and Los Angeles that took place on February 10. In the lawsuit, the unidentified player claims that an “intoxicated” woman grabbed his penis and ripped off a mask that he had been wearing over his mouth and nose. The player had been wearing the mask for protective measures during the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic.
More than two months after the cruise ship industry was brought to a halt over the coronavirus pandemic, 100,000 crew members are still stranded on board across the world. It’s an increasingly desperate situation for many of the workers worried they won’t be able to make it home for a long time. On one Royal Caribbean ship, 15 workers staged a hunger strike. At least two crew members on other cruise ships have tragically leaped overboard in apparent suicides.
Venturing out of a hotel room in Hawaii right now might land you in handcuffs.
Just ask one of the roughly 20 people who’ve been arrested for violating Governor David Ige’s two-week quarantine imposed on all who arrive in the state or travel between its islands.
Hundreds more have been arrested or issued citations for violating other aspects of the state’s emergency orders to combat the coronavirus, which are among the nation’s strictest and have helped to drive down the rate of infection to the second lowest in the country.
State parks and Hawaii’s famous beaches have been closed. Hotels are issuing single-use keys, forcing quarantined guests who leave their rooms to go to the front desk and explain why. Airlines have been encouraged to suspend incoming flights. The state’s visitors bureau has asked media organizations to “refrain from publishing any stories about Hawaii that might encourage people to travel to the islands.”
United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ:UAL) in June has work for only about 3,000 of its 25,000 flight attendants in June, according to reports, highlighting how deep cuts to the airline’s schedule have been and just how unsustainable current airline business practices are.
Airlines have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused travel demand to evaporate. The industry, United included, has responded by cutting flights and grounding planes, but, as a condition of the $50 billion government bailout package, airlines are prohibited from furloughing or laying off workers. That means a lot of workers with not much to do.
SINGAPORE (AP) — An American cargo pilot who admitted to “poor judgment” in breaking a quarantine order to buy medical supplies became the first foreigner imprisoned in Singapore for breaching its restrictions meant to curb the coronavirus, his lawyer said Friday.
FedEx pilot Brian Dugan Yeargan, 44, of Alaska, was sentenced to four weeks Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to leaving his hotel room for three hours to buy masks and a thermometer, defense lawyer Ronnie Tan said.
Singapore has one of the largest outbreaks in Asia, with 26,000 cases. More than 90% of those infected are foreign workers living in crowded dormitories, while the government recently began easing restrictions for the local population.
(Reuters) – The top three U.S. airlines have told their flight attendants not to force passengers to comply with their new policy requiring face coverings, just encourage them to do so, according to employee policies reviewed by Reuters.
American Airlines Group Inc <AAL.O>, Delta Air Lines Inc <DAL.N> and United Airlines Holdings Inc <UAL.O> have told employees that they may deny boarding at the gate to anyone not wearing a face covering, and are providing masks to passengers who do not have them, the three carriers told Reuters.
Inside the plane, enforcement becomes more difficult.
“Once on board and off the gate, the face covering policy becomes more lenient. The flight attendant’s role is informational, not enforcement, with respect to the face covering policy,” American told its pilots in a message seen by Reuters explaining its policy, which went into effect on Monday.
Boeing’s president and CEO, David Calhoun, acknowledged during an NBC News interview with “Today” host Savannah Guthrie that a major U.S. airline will “most likely” go out of business due to fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
In reply to a question from Guthrie, Calhoun said, “Something will happen when September comes around. Traffic levels will not be back to 100%. They won’t even be back to 25.”
It might take until the end of the year for levels to approach 50%, “so there will definitely be adjustments that have to be made on the part of the airlines,” Calhoun said in an excerpt from the interview. (Update for 11:30 a.m. PT May 12:We’ve added the video of the full interview, aired by “Today.”)