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Southwest to start selling middle seats in December

Delta only major U.S. carrier limiting number of passengers on flights

Southwest Airlines took a major financial hit in 2020 and now the company is making a big change in an effort to mitigate further losses.

Southwest will start selling every seat on flights starting Dec. 1.

During the coronavirus pandemic, middle seats have been blocked to help passengers spread out.

In an earnings report released Thursday, Southwest cited findings by medical and aviation organizations as a reason for resuming normal sales.

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A department of defense study found wearing masks protected passengers from airborne transmission because of the air flow systems used on planes.

Southwest passenger Linda Morsilli is not a fan of the move.

“I’d rather they didn’t, especially with the coronavirus -- with (cases) going up -- but I guess they got to do what they got to do," she said. "“We take a mask, I have the wipes. I wipe everything down before I even sit in the seat, so we’re very, very careful.”

Another passenger, who flew into Orlando with her 80-year-old mother, said she may no longer be able to fly on Southwest.

“I loved the idea that they had a middle seat vacant,” she said. “Somebody my age, who is very vulnerable, we can’t fly if they have it so crowded. We can’t go on.”

The move comes just in time for the holiday travel season, which will no doubt be lighter than normal.

Delta is now the only major U.S. carrier limiting the number of passengers on flights.

United and American Airlines dropped that policy months ago.