easyJet is considering leaving the middle seats empty when it starts flying again.
The airline says the measure would be temporary and part of a package to protect passengers and staff.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said the measure is aimed at encouraging passengers to fly after the pandemic recedes.
Clearly there will be Covid-19 restrictions when air travel starts again. It is probable that passengers will be nervous about being in close proximity to others in a contained space. easyJet and others in the industry will have to agree measures that will reassure passengers throughout their journey.
Cost of leaving middle seat empty
easyJet operates an all Airbus fleet. They have over 300 Airbus A320 family aircraft. All of those are narrow body, single aisle. They all have a single aisle with six seats in a row. Three seats on each side of the aisle.
Leaving the middle seat empty means that easyJet would have to operate flights with one third fewer passengers than normal. At most 4 in a row instead of 6 in a row. They might also have to leave rows empty for various reasons.
An easyJet A320neo has 40 rows and would normally carry 235 passengers. So at least 70 passenger seats would be empty.
That is a lot of empty seats and lost revenue.
Would easyJet and other airlines see that as lost revenue or a chance to hike prices?
EasyJet grounded its fleet at the end of March in response to worldwide travel bans and the UK’s lockdown measures.
N.B. Image credit: easyJet