Video of American Airlines Crowded Flight – No Social Distancing

by Miles Jackson

We have all become accustomed to the catchphrases of the times: social distancing, face masks, N95, COVID19, quarantine. In light of the potential dangers, many airlines have sought to consciously create spacing between passengers. Unfortunately, passengers on a recent crowded American Airlines flight say they ‘never felt so unsafe.’ On this crowded flight there was no social distancing.

American Airlines – A Crowded Flight, No Social Distancing

A passenger, who identifies herself as Tammy Gonzalez on Twitter, claimed on May 17 that she had “just” flown with American Airlines aboard a flight from Fresno to Dallas. In the video she posted with her tweet, Gonzalez can be heard remarking that the plane is “so overcrowded,” while panning around the cabin to show what appears to be quite a lot of rows of passengers seated directly next to each other.

It’s obvious from the video that there are a lot of passengers seated in the main cabin. There are very few empty seats. That’s not what social distancing looks like, which gave Gonzalez reason for concern. Gonzalez goes on to reply to her posted video with “All rows with the exception of maybe 4 rows were completely full of passengers. I’ve never felt so unsafe in my life.” Gonzalez added that she found it “sickening” that American Airlines would “put our lives at risk to make money off a couple extra seats.”

What was American Airlines’ response? 

American Airlines Crowded Flight No Social Distancing Response Tweet

Gonzalez received a lot of negative comments on her tweet challenging why she flew in the first place.

However, American Airlines is not following their own stated policies. American instituted a policy of requiring passengers to wear face masks on all flights beginning May 11.

American Airlines will soon require all customers traveling to wear a face covering (or mask) while on board the aircraft starting May 11. This new requirement is part of the airline’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing customer and team member well-being in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But check out the passenger in Gonzalez’ video:

American Airlines Flight Coronavirus Overcrowded Video Passenger No Face Mask

Passenger Not Wearing Mask – Violating American Airlines’ Own Policy

Clearly that guy is not wearing a face mask and American Airlines is not enforcing their own policies. That simply jeopardizes everyone around such people.

Even More Safety Concerns on American

Consider this recent tweet, showing an American Airlines flight attendant not wearing any facial mask. The passenger also claims the flight attendant allowed passengers to remove their protective face masks.

Other Airlines Are Getting Serious About Health Policies

Contrast this with what the major US airline policies currently state. American, Delta, United, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and Alaska Airlines now require all passengers to wear a face mask

Frontier Airlines chief Barry Biffle stated of passengers refusing to wear masks, “if someone is uncompliant, we will eventually divert an airplane.

JetBlue just announced that they will extend their seat blocking policy, and even made it more strict and better.

It seems, from these recent images that American Airlines may think the pandemic is over.

United Airlines: No Social Distancing on Doctor’s Flight

This isn’t the first time passengers have raised concerns of crowding during the COVID19 crisis.

Dr. Weiss also stated “We are about to land & I just wanted to say a few things. 1) people on this plane are scared/ shocked. 2) I have no idea why most of them are traveling. 3)I am with a group of 25 nurses and doctors who have been working in NYC hospitals for the past 2-4 weeks. We are coming home.”

Delta Committed to Blocking Seats for Social Distancing

The airline has announced a commitment to block seats for flights.

Delta Air Lines is building on its efforts to make more space for safer travel by blocking the sale of select aisle and window seats on additional aircraft, capping seating at 50 percent in First Class and 60 percent in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort +, and Delta Premium Select to reduce the overall number of customers in every cabin across the fleet. This change, which is effective through June 30, is the most recent addition to a number of health and safety measures we’ve taken to promote a safe flying experience for customers and employees.

DeltaONE Suite

Delta is Rumored to be Converting Some Planes to an ALL DeltaONE Configuration

There’s even a rumor that Delta may outfit some of planes to all DeltaONE suites. My take on that is Delta is doing this as a marketing scheme. They are likely hoping that will help them fill planes sooner; providing social distancing. Passengers may be willing to pay a premium if they believe they are getting some form of enhanced safety for the price.

What About Future Travel, Post Coronavirus?

I’ve penned an article on 7 Ways Coronavirus May Change Future Air Travel. Airlines will do a better job of providing better health protections for airline employees. That’s probably here to stay for a long time. Likely, these social distancing efforts are short-lived. After all, airlines are going to have to be profitable very soon.

RELATED POST: Updated CDC and Airline Guidelines for Traveling During Coronavirus

The travel industry will take extra steps towards screening and sanitation but blocking seats cuts into revenues. In short, don’t expect airlines to block seats as ticket sales increase. The airlines have parked many of their aircraft –even retiring some. Knowing when and just how many to bring back to balance demand is a tricky task.

The UpShot

Air travel is showing signs of taking off  and unless there’s a second wave, the industry will slowly pull out of this crisis. In the meantime, we will likely witness several of these crowded flights as flights begin to fill up.

RELATED POST: Your Guide: New Normal? Airline Personal Protection Travel Requirements

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation, frequent flyers may be feeling especially nervous about getting sick during their travels. Although we are told to practice social distancing when we are out, airlines are not held to any legal requirements to ensure that happens on their aircraft.

What is your reaction to these ‘crowded’ flights with no social distancing? Would they make you feel unsafe? 

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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Steve Serac May 20, 2020 - 9:06 am

If people chose to fly during this time then they should accept the possibility of packed flights. The airlines are going to go back to that eventually none of them are going to cap capacity forever its unrealistic. So feeling “unsafe” or shocked that not every middle seat is free is crazy and folks need to get over it. Masks or no mask in reality is your personal preference while highly recommended you cant force someone to wear them hence why none of the airlines are forcing them onboard as they would be flooded with lawsuits and issues just like many of the cities in the states that have tried to force it and then quickly stepped back when it started to create more problems.

Jim F. May 20, 2020 - 9:15 am

A relevant question is, “Are these pictures the exception or the rule right now?” On average, what percent of seats are empty on flights? If that number is relatively low (which I believe it is), that needs to be noted in the interest of fairness. Some flights with limited frequencies or between commuter destinations are going to have more seats filled.

Glenn May 20, 2020 - 9:52 am

Blocking middle seats is only about comfort, it is NOT social distancing. How many people are within six feet of you – lots! Social distancing would be two passengers per row and only seated in every third row. And those seats would need to cost over $1000 for the airlines to break even.

Miles Jackson May 20, 2020 - 9:58 am

JetBlue has the closest idea to that on their 2-2 configuration Embraer 190 aircraft. Booking passengers into window seats exclusively.
Thanks for your comment and for reading.

Willy May 20, 2020 - 9:59 am

Can’t we just avoid this phase and move to right back to where we know we will be which is seats full on planes? Why even bother with the relativistic moral superiority phase which is not sustainable or realistic? So, let’s stop posting this garbage and move along. BTW, did you know that the American Airlines policy states you are more than welcome to remove your mask while you are eating and drinking. Maybe that friendly chap was enjoying a beverage or eating his lunch? You can be damn sure that when I fly in the near future that I will be eating and drinking the entire flight 🙂

Ryan May 20, 2020 - 10:24 am

Flying is a privelage not a right. You do not feel safe? Do not fly! Middle seats blocked do NOTHING to avoid spread of the virus. You want a few rows to yourself? Buy up the seats. Airlines cannot even afford to pay their employees right now without government assistance…why should you get all that extra space?

Paul May 20, 2020 - 10:24 am

As a physician, thank God these planes are packed! The whole idea of “social distancing” and wearing a mask is gonna save you is absolutely hilarious! Like a bunch of sheep. Social distancing on a plane won’t stop anything and neither will these masks. If you believe this nonsense you’re apt to believe “climate change”, “CO2 is bad”, “Santa Claus”, “The Easter Bunny” and other such nonsense.

tassojunior May 20, 2020 - 10:26 am

To help the airlines and people both Congress should pay for every middle seat to be empty for a few months.

Geof May 20, 2020 - 10:49 am

Social Distancing on a single aisle aircraft. LOL. These losers who are complaining need to get over it.

Patrick May 20, 2020 - 12:24 pm

Well if you want a guaranteed empty seat right next to you then pay for two seats then to socially distance.

These people expect cheap fares and empty seats next to them?? Airlines will then just go out of business entirely.

George May 20, 2020 - 4:07 pm

I’m at the airport again. It’s BUSY!

We need social distancing like we need more national debt….

Anyone scared, stay home – we don’t want your stupid ideas anymore. You’ve done enough harm for many years.

Hard-knocks May 20, 2020 - 11:39 pm

If we have to follow the damn guidelines so should they. They want to reap all the benefits, claiming an exemption (where were they for the small business owner?!) but not follow the rules. Airlines should be made to follow even MORE restrictive rules regarding sanitizing and health. Not just during the pandemic but because there are just THAT MANY people in a confined space.This is ridiculous.


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