This week’s episode is all about the middle seat. Should it be blocked? How would airlines approach that task? And one briefly tried to charge passengers for that luxury, though quickly backed down when politicians got angry.
More designs are emerging for how to potentially block the middle seat. We have Factorydesign’s founder and director Peter Tennent on the show to talk about his company’s aptly-named “Isolate” product and what it could do for social distancing on board. And because we don’t expect blocked seats forever we delve into how the concept could also be used post-crisis.
We also have some insight from IATA on the financial impact of blocking those seats. Not surprisingly the industry trade group is opposed to the concept given its impact on revenue. Instead, it wants to see facial coverings as a mandatory move for passengers and crew.
Virgin Atlantic is slashing Gatwick from its operations and 30% of its staff as it struggles to survive. The carrier will also retire its fleet of 747s. And, while I’m interesting in adding a freighter or two into my fleet, I’m not sure I could fit one of those 744s on the shelf.
Finally, we take a look at the Air France–KLM bailout funding from France and the Netherlands and discuss some of the “green” conditions imposed on the cash. While some pundits may be correct that these rules would be better negotiated at the EU-level and apply evenly to all airlines, it has become clear that broad action like that is not in the cards. And some countries are sick of waiting.