"Obviously, that's something that is of concern", Dr. Fauci said. "A number of the airlines had made a decision to keep the middle seat (open)".
CDC director Robert Redfield expressed "substantial disappointment" with American Airlines for this. "Why hasn't the government, whether it's the CDC or the Department of Transportation, issued guidelines, prohibiting those violations of what we all know to be common sense?" White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said today, for example, that while we're seeing more than 40,000 cases a day around the country right now, that number could very well surpass 100,000 a day soon. Bernie Sanders during a Senate health committee hearing.
While flights will be able to booked to full capacity, American Airlines will continue to notify customers when the flight is crowded and let them move to a more open flight if it's available. He said American was also giving customers the option of changing their ticket if their flight might be full. Masks will continue to be required for passengers and American Airlines crews.
People are making summer and even fall travel plans now, and especially if you're flying there are even more choices than ever to consider.
Dr Anthony Fauci speaks with Dr Robert Redfield
"It's less about social distancing and it's more about the air and quality of air on board the airplane that makes people safe", said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, who added he had not seen the health officials' comments.
Most major airlines are now operating flights at a capped maximum of passengers, to help ensure that passengers aren't crowded inside like sardines at a time when we're all supposed to be doing our best to socially distance from each other.
Air travel has increased slowly since mid-April - although it's still down 75% from normal - and some flights have been packed.
American Airlines announced last week that it would stop limiting capacity on its flights and blocking the middle seats, which it had been doing since April. Delta and Southwest are blocking middle seats through the end of September. Spirit, Frontier, and other low-cost-carriers have also continued to fill their planes.