What to do with the Middle Seats?

With the majority of air travel grounded for the time being, airlines are probably working around the clock to see how they can change their business models.

It is highly likely that some current changes to the travel industry will be be sticking around even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Middle Seats

So who likes sitting in a row of 3 or 4 seats where you do not know each other? If you think about it, if one of you is sick, there is a high chance you can infect the the person or people sitting next to you.

If you are feverish, coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose in such a tight space?

There is a movement to give up the middle seat, even temporarily, that some airlines have already adopted. This move could really hurt airline revenues, so not all airline are on board with the idea.

Inverted Seat

One proposal is to invert the middle seat to avoid direct contact with the people next to you. But then you are  facing the person in front of you diagonally. To be fair, on some trains, there are some seats that are inverted so that people are facing each other.

I’m thinking that if people are not sick, it wouldn’t make a huge difference. It would matter more if someone is sick. So maybe the solution is to avoid letting sick people board the plane?

Hybrid Solution

For the moment, I think airlines and passengers alike generally try to avoid the middle seat already. Fill the aisle and window seats first before the middle seats. This feels like common sense to me.

On the other hand, let’s say there is a family of 3, parents and one child. Should be fine to let them sit 3 together right? So there is no real need to completely eliminate the middle seat I would think?

Final Thoughts

But if you were 3 strangers, who wouldn’t be happy with giving up the middle seat to give each other more space? But at what cost to the airlines?

Personally, if we really need to take more precautions, then I think that checking temperatures before allowing people into the airport is probably a better deterrent than any other idea really. The challenge would be that airlines would need to be a little more flexible about flight changes and there is always the chance of abuse of the system of change fees are waived. So there needs to be some sort of balance there.

I still think that if the plane is not full, airlines and passengers should try their best to avoid middle seats as a general practice. It only becomes an issue when the plane is full, which I don’t want to see airlines go bankrupt either.

Maybe airlines should increase the cost per seat if the are going to give up the middle seat so it does not affect their bottom line as much? After-all, it could be a fair argument in favour of the airlines because passengers will have a more enjoyable flight experience when no one is sitting in the middle seat!

What are your thoughts about the middle seats on the airlines? Please let us know in the comment section below! 


  1. I think perhaps maybe a more fair way would if you could buy the empty middle seat (perhaps at a good discount or with a free seat selection included) could be fair, as well as give additional revenue to the airline.

    What I would also like to see if a much more flexible change and cancelation policy. So that you don’t have to pay 3 or 4 times more for a ticket that you can change or cancel for a refund. That way if people are sick, they can change the date or when they travel.

  2. Rapid test for everyone and the result can be included in a national testing database. Not only the airline knows that only healthy people is on the airplane, but also, helping the government to increase testing rate. One downside, people has to check-in 3 hours prior to give more time for rapid testing.

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