American Airlines said on Friday that it will no longer restrict the number of seats sold on flights beginning July 1, in an effort to come back from the impact of the coronavirus.
The announcement comes before a meeting between the chief executives of major U.S. airlines, including American, and senior U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, at the White House to discuss several virus-related travel issues and to press for government-administered temperature checks for airline passengers.
U.S. airlines are bleeding cash as travel suffers in the pandemic and some have warned capping seats sold on each flight to allow for more space between passengers is not viable.
American previously limited its seating capacity at 85% on each flight, or roughly 50% of the main cabin middle seats.
The company will notify customers if their flight will be full and allow them to move to more open flights when available, mirroring a United Airlines policy.
Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines have said they will continue limiting seating capacity through September.
The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines’ pilots, wants the government to subsidize empty seats to reassure people about flying.