Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield is not happy with American Airlines' plan to fill airplanes to capacity during the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reports.
During a Tuesday congressional hearing, Redfield said he was disappointed with the airline’s decision to pack planes with more passengers, while other carriers are still limiting capacity by keeping middle seats open.
"I can tell you that when they announced that the other day, obviously there was substantial disappointment with American Airlines," Redfield said at a Senate Health Committee hearing. "A number of the airlines had decided to keep the middle seat [open]."
American Airlines plans to increase its capacity on Wednesday. The company said Friday it would inform passengers of the change and allow them to move to a more open flight, at no extra charge, if their flight is full.
American Airlines' new policy is the same one implemented at United Airlines. Delta and Southwest Airlines have committed to limiting seating capacity through September.
Redfield fielded questions from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Sanders said he hopes the CDC or another government agency will order airlines to ensure there is enough distance between travelers.
"I just hope very much that the CDC or the appropriate agency basically tells these companies that that is unacceptable behavior," Sanders said. "They're endangering the lives of the American people."
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