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Courtesy Southwest Airlines

The changes go into effect on Dec. 1, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Southwest Airlines has announced that it will begin booking flights at full capacity, allowing middle seats to be booked. The airline has been leaving middle seats open since the start of the pandemic in March in order to meet social distancing requirements in the wake of COVID-19. 

“This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now,” Southwest CEO Gary C. Kelly said during the carrier’s third-quarter report.“Today, aligned with science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations, we will resume selling all available seats for travel beginning December 1, 2020.”

The decision comes after Southwest posted a third quarter net loss of $1.2 billion, with revenues down 68.2% year over year. 

Southwest says that it will alert all passengers if the flight they are scheduled to be on is full, and will continue their policy of no fees to cancel or change flights. 

You can read more about Southwest’s COVID-19 response here: https://www.southwest.com/Coronavirus