EasyJet Says It'll Return to Flying With Empty Middle Seats for Social Distancing

By Gary Cutlack on at

EasyJet is already planning for the heady days of the near future when leaving the house might be possible and even going abroad may once again become imaginable, as the airline says a phased return to business including empty seats for social distancing is on the cards.

This will work, it says, as once restrictions are removed or lessened somehow at least, people won't all immediately want to fly off to faraway sunshine land if it involves being quite near other people for a few hours. Hence the few pioneer post-Covid travellers will see deliberately left-empty seats on the first wave of returning easyJet flights, as there'll be plenty of space to leave because only the hardcore will want to be that near anyone else at first.

EasyJet's chief executive Johan Lundgren said he imagines it's something "the customers would like to see" when planes start flying again in more usual numbers, adding that there's no full return to normality or a new kind of limited normality in his plans yet, as no one yet knows how long any tentative return to the skies phase may last.

Ryanair doesn't agree, mind, as you'd expect, with boss Michael O'Leary saying any such seat-removing plan is a mad short-term fix. He's backing mandatory temperature checks and face masks for all staff and fliers as a solution to getting the county flying again, during whatever interim period exists between restarting business and a return to anything like full capacity. [BBC, Reuters]