American Airlines Facing Backlash for Packing Flights With Passengers

No mask on flight required for airline.

Last week, American Airlines made global headlines when it packed passengers aboard a NYC to Miami flight—without practicing social distancing measures. Since the flight, many passengers aboard other American Airlines flights have come forward with the airline’s disregard for social distancing or encouraging face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

The backlash started with passenger Angie Wong, who was shocked to board her Miami to NYC flight, which she stated was 80 to 90 percent full. “I could tell passengers were very nervous that masks were not mandated,” Wong told the New York Post. “I asked how this was allowed during distancing requirements, and got ‘nothing we can do about it’ shrugs and offered an 800 number to change my reservation.”

Wong said passengers were crammed together on her flight, about half without masks. AA Flight 2669 is aboard a 738, which holds 160 passengers. 

Since the incident, the daily AA flight for this route has been canceled for several days. Airfare for future flights are going for $234 one-way on the website.

In another mishap, a passenger aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami to Mexico City on April 16 reported the flight was packed, 80 percent of passengers were not wearing masks, and social distancing measures were violated at the boarding gate. Only one lavatory was available because the crew used a second one that was marked as “out of order,” passenger Pedro Souss said.

Other passengers are sharing their frustrating and packed American Airlines flights during coronavirus pandemic on Twitter.

American is one of few airlines that has not blocked all middle seats. The airline only blocks 50 percent of middle seats, while airlines, like Delta, has blocked all middle seats during the coronavirus pandemic. 

On April 21, American Airlines raised its transatlantic checked bag fees to $75 per bag, up from $60, during the pandemic, which has also frustrated passengers.

Recently, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, wrote that masks should be required for passengers on planes and in airports “so long as COVID-19 remains a threat to public health,” according to Business Insider.

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Some airlines are taking charge during the pandemic. United Airlines became the first large U.S. airline to require flight attendants to wear face masks, as of April 24, joining Frontier Airlines, which has mandated flight attendant face masks.

So far, TSA has reported nearly 500 coronavirus cases among airport employees. 

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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