NEW YORK — For those afraid to fly now, JetBlue says it will extend through the July 4 holiday its commitment to seat distancing by blocking middle seats in rows where parties are not traveling together. The policy, part of the airline’s multi-layered “Safety from the Ground Up” program, comes as the airline is also set to roll out temperature monitoring for its flight and inflight crewmembers and electrostatic aircraft fogging in June.
“As communities start to reopen and with summer travel kicking off this weekend, more people are beginning to fly and we want them to feel safe on JetBlue,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue. “Our program layers together a series of protections throughout the entire travel journey, which work together to help keep everyone safe and well.”
JetBlue’s program focused on four focus areas: healthy crewmembers; clean air and surfaces; more space, fewer touchpoints; and travel flexibility.
Seat Distancing on All Flights
As part of its “more space, fewer touchpoints” focus, JetBlue’s seat distancing policy gives customers peace of mind that they will not be seated directly next to someone they don’t know. Middle seats will be blocked on its Airbus aircraft, and on its smaller Embraer 190 aircraft, JetBlue will block aisle seats. The airline does allow customers traveling together to sit in middle and aisle seats.
“We’re known for generous legroom and space, and now more than ever, those choosing to travel want as much space as possible,” Geraghty said. “We are pleased to extend our efforts to keep seats free and help everyone onboard spread out.”
Even with blocked seats, it’s challenging to maintain six feet of distance between everyone onboard and that’s why JetBlue was the first U.S. airline to require face coverings for customers. JetBlue will keep the seat distancing program in place through at least July 6.
Layering Together a Series of Protections
JetBlue’s program puts in place safeguards across four focus areas, and the airline continues to work under the guidance of an infectious disease specialist and in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Steps to ensure the health and safety of JetBlue’s 23,000 crewmembers include:
- Conducting temperature checks for our pilots and inflight crewmembers (rolling out first week in June)
- Providing paid sick leave and additional time off programs so crewmembers do not come to work sick
- Following company-wide protocols for reporting cases of the coronavirus, notifications and return to work clearance
- Providing disinfectant kits for pilot use on the flight deck
- Requiring face coverings for all crewmembers while boarding, in flight, and when physical distancing cannot be maintained
Clean air and surfaces
JetBlue is ensuring the use of disinfectant approved to kill coronavirus and maintaining healthy air onboard its aircraft. Steps include:
- More frequent disinfecting of common surfaces like kiosks and counters inside our airport terminals
- Providing hand sanitizer throughout terminals and disinfectant wipes to customers on board upon request
- Increasing aircraft cleaning before every flight and overnight, including surfaces that are touched most like tray tables
- Using electrostatic sprayers to fog the inside of our aircraft (rolling out soon)
- Filtering cabin air through hospital-grade HEPA air filters with cabin air completely changing about every three minutes
- (To learn about how air circulates onboard JetBlue’s fleet, view this JetBlue video at https://youtu.be/Q2_C2iN-tEs)
More space, fewer touchpoints
To increase physical distancing and to decrease touchpoints, JetBlue is implementing the following steps:
- Requiring face coverings for all customers during check-in, boarding and inflight
- Blocking middle seats on larger aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft for those not traveling together (at least through July 6)
- Providing the most space between each row of seats in coach of any U.S. airline* and spacious seating on all aircraft
- Providing touchless check-in and boarding experiences using the JetBlue mobile app and self-boarding gates for many of our flights
- Implementing a back-to-front boarding process for most customers to minimize passing in the aisle
- Adjusting on board service including pre-sealed snack and beverage bags in Core, and pre-packaged fresh meals in Mint
- Using your personal device as a remote for seatback screens on select planes
JetBlue was the first carrier in the United States to adjust policies allowing customers to choose to travel when they are comfortable:
- Waiving change and cancel fees for tickets purchased by May 31 to give customers confidence when booking
- Extending Travel Bank credit expirations to a 24-month period for credits issued between Feb. 27 and May 31
- Providing 24/7 support and customer service