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Democratic senator wants to stop airlines from selling middle seats amid pandemic

"I will introduce a bill to ban the sale of middle seats through this pandemic," the senator from Oregon tweeted.

Updated: July 5, 2020 - 12:29pm

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Sen. Jeff Merkley on Friday announced that he will introduce legislation to prohibit airlines from filling middle seats during the coronavirus crisis.

The Oregon Democrat on Thursday tweeted a selfie in which he excoriated American Airlines.

"@AmericanAir: how many Americans will die bc you fill middle seats, w/ your customers shoulder to shoulder, hour after hour. This is incredibly irresponsible. People eat & drink on planes & must take off masks to do so. No way you aren’t facilitating spread of COVID infections."

On Friday Merkley declared that he would put forward legislation blocking airlines from selling middle seats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I will introduce a bill to ban the sale of middle seats through this pandemic. And I’ll work with colleagues to include it in a package of airline accountability reforms they are crafting," he tweeted.

The company has said that it is carrying out "enhanced cleaning and requiring face coverings."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a July 2 letter asked Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Stephen Dickson to enact regulations including limiting passenger flights to 67 percent capacities.




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