JetBlue extended its block seating policy on flights through 1 December 2020, adding six additional weeks of limited capacity on all flights. But the carrier is also slightly reducing the number of seats blocked. The move is a compromise between the safety commitment, change in passenger behavior and efforts to accommodate more groups or families traveling together. The new capacity caps take effect on 16 October.
In addition to allowing families to sit together the increased sales caps allow JetBlue to better account for a higher number of no-shows than it historically experienced. Even with the increased on-board capacity should still only fill those middle seats with families traveling together. In the rare occasion that a passenger finds themselves assigned to a seat with a stranger adjacent the company will offer options, including rebooking, to resolve the issue.
And for the few flights that are seeing higher demand, this shift allows JetBlue to realize a bit of extra revenue, a much needed boost.
Airlines know that blocking the seats is not a viable long-term option. Figuring out just how many passengers are willing to buy tickets where blocking is not in play will prove a critical part of the recovery economics.
And everyone is playing with limited data right now. Expect plenty more tweaks to policies as the situation evolves.
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