Southwest to limit seats sold on each flight through July -CEO

Tracy RucinskiReutersMay 21, 2020, 10:54 AM CDT

By Tracy Rucinski

(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.

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