United Stops Pretending That They’re Promoting Social Distancing On Their Flights

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When United first announced social distancing measures onboard they said they would block middle seats in coach and every other seat in first class. Many understood that to mean they wouldn’t sell those seats.

However they didn’t actually mean they would not sell seats, they meant that they would only block them initially. If they sold enough seats they would assign the blocked seats.

After passengers called them out for that sleight of hand, United said they would let passengers know if their flight would be 70%+ full so that they could select an alternate flight:


But as of today they threw in the towel on all pretense of social distancing. United has unblocked all seat assignments so that passengers can select any seat on the plane in advance.

United was also blocking employee pass free riders from flights that were 70% full, but that block has been eliminated as well.

This comes after American said they would also start selling flights to capacity.

You can always buy an extra seat if you want to guarantee an empty seat next to you by making the first name of the ticket EXTRASEAT with your last name. You’ll even get double your baggage allowance.

Or you can get a middle seat blocked for free by flying on JetBlue or Hawaiian through 7/31 or on Delta or Southwest through 9/30. Those airlines are essentially forgoing any chance of short-term profit and hoping to get lasting goodwill from passengers remembering that they tried to keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

United eliminated kosher meals on all flights that aren’t to or from Tel Aviv “for the safety of our customers and crew.” Now that the guise of safety is up, will United bring them back? Or will they at least admit that like hotels going green, the real reason is always for safety…of the bottom line.

HT: yandmk

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30 Comments On "United Stops Pretending That They’re Promoting Social Distancing On Their Flights"

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Sam F.

That tweet is from early May, nearly 7 weeks ago. Has something changed since then?


I honestly doubt blocking middle seats does much to prevent spread, even aisle to window is close and people move around when boarding etc. at this stage airlines need to survive and this is what it takes, don’t like it don’t fly


Who knows? Not the CDC, nor me or you.

But it would do a lot to encourage the public to fly UA. For now, for me, UA and AA aren’t a choice. And I won’t forget their ST views.


Just flew United. Was ridiculous. They have you social distance at the gate and then seat you near a random stranger. Was very uncomfortable.
Will not fly them again.

David G

So don’t fly if you’re not comfortable doing so. I cannot understand the people who complain about a full plane. So you’re upset at all the other people who made the same choice to fly? Or the airline for not emptying their plane for you when you fly? If you’re not happy then don’t fly


I cannot understand the people who complain about other people’s complaints.




i also flew united and after being on the flight for 10+ hours together, we had to get off the plane using social distancing. LOL


Keep callin them out Dan! Better they admit to their real agendas then try to fake it otherwise. The slogan we saw on AA’s site “we’re in this together” was only so true until my bag weighed 51lbs and they wanted the taxpayers to bail them out.


Welcome to America, where Covid terms such as “social distancing” and “quarantine” are just nice words. Pathetic you guys.


No kosher meals… For safety? Why? Do kosher eating people have Corona and they might spread it by having to remove their masks to eat?


Like all businesses, we have a choice…. pay more for the meal and seat you prefer. Don’t complain about businesses trying to survive when you have other options

Issac Jones

And the people flying are also trying to survive not everybody can’t afford two tickets in these times and let’s see who got the bailout the person flying or the airline who was in debt anyway and just used covd as a excuse


Complain? No, I’ll go elsewhere.


You left out the best option….flying the right airlines and abandoning the bad ones.


Uneducated and non experienced people stick up for Large corporations practicing bad behavior. New Flash: They would never stick up for you unless it helped their bottom line.


Flew Southwest today & had a totally different experience than my earlier Delta flight which was terrible. The Southwest flight boarded in groups of ten, overall wasn’t crowded, all middle seats left open, they served only water for beverage service, everyone was masked, plane was extremely clean.


Alitalia not offering kosher meals on their portion of a ticket I booked on Delta JFK-TLV for September. Delta offering kosher JFK-Rome. Not sure if it’s a “kosher” issue or shorter flight decision. No one will starve on any flight for not having their kosher meal – one can subsist on water for 30 hours, but if meals are being served, Kosher should be offered.


If govt can disallow gatherings or require limited amounts at events or shuls etc, why can’t govt stop flights that don’t social distance?


Can I buy an EXTRASEAT infant ticket and then get extra luggage for that ticket even though there’s no infant?

Michael Rosner

United is a corporate profit only motivated airline that ignores peasants like us flyers who use them. Yes, profits always are the goal, you are in business to make money, but United throws their customers under the bus all the time. From sardine-like seats to overcrowded planes even before COVID, to crazy cancellation policies. It is now worse than El-Al if that is at all possible. Use to fly them in business and first to Asia/Europe and I am still waiting for them to catch up in seat configurations, comfort, and services of other airlines. Coach is absolutely horrendous domestically. The only +, is they have a lot of flights (if they don’t end up canceling them)
UUGGHH what a fiasco.


Regarding the kosher food situation on United, the “premium” “breakfast” in PremiumPlus on flight #91 TLV-EWR, 6/23 was a tiny sandwich and a small water.


Flew united yesterday. Should have been boarding group 1, as printed on my boarding pass, but they started boarding by rows, from back of the plane to the front. Luckily there was room in the overhead for my carry-on, even though my row was the last to board, but would have been very upsetting if all the bins were full and they would have made me check in my carry-on. At least I got to deplane first (they are deplaning 5 rows at a time).


Want to tell everyone you flew first class? Yippekayai.


No, I did not fly first. But I thought people might want to know of the risk of not having enough space in the bins if you have a seat towards the front of coach, even if you should be getting boarding group 1. The front rows board last, regardless of your status. Especially for those on a HC ticket who cannot take a risk of being forced to check in their hand bags…
Sorry if you are offended by that


could it be that milage plus is not working ?


I will fly Delta to TLV next month. Good behavior needs to be rewarded.


@Dan are you thinking of moving your empire from United to Delta finally? It seems the only thing United is good about is making poor decisions.