DETROIT – Many people feel air travel isn’t safe right now due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and pilots agree.
Officials with the Airline Pilots Association said guidelines and suggestions currently in place are not enough. They believe the Federal Aviation Administration needs to mandate and enforce safety requirements.
The airline industry is in crisis, with most planes flying at 10% capacity. Grim projections include 100,000 layoffs in the fall.
The solutions are complex, but the problem is simple: Most Americans don’t feel flying is safe.
Capt. Joe DePete, the president of the Airline Pilots Association, said passengers are the only ones who don’t feel safe. He said pilots agree the current protocols aren’t enough to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends that passengers and crew members wear masks during flights, but flight attendants have been told their role is information, not enforcement, so wearing a mask is optional for them.
Another controversial issue is the middle seat.
United Airlines officials said they cannot guarantee you will have an empty seat next to you.
American Airlines won’t assign 50% of main cabin middle seats and will use them only when necessary.
Delta has already capped seating at 60% capacity in the main cabin and will guarantee middle seats are empty.
DePete said he believes the FAA needs to set the safety rules and enforce them.
According to airline industry analysts, if airlines eliminate middle seats as a standard practice going forward, ticket prices will increase by at least 40%.
You can near from DePete in Steve Garagiola’s full video at the top of the page.