A rep for United told PEOPLE that "for regularly scheduled flights that we expect to be fairly full" they will also "continue to reach out to customers about 24 hours prior to departure to notify them that their flight might be more full than expected and allow them to choose to rebook on a different flight or receive a travel credit."
Meanwhile, other airlines such as Delta and Southwest have chosen to extend their limited seating to allow for better social distancing, Travel and Leisure reported.
Both the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) virologist Dr. Robert Redfield and White House Coronavirus Task Force immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, have criticized American and United for their decision as numerous places around the country continue to see surges in new coronavirus cases.
Redfield said it was a "substantial disappointment" to learn of American's decision to fully book flights. “I can say this is under critical review by us at CDC. We don’t think it’s the right message,” Redfield added, according to the New York Post.
Fauci called the decision "something that is of concern."
"I’m not sure what went into that decision making,” he told a Senate panel, according to the outlet. "I think in the confines of an airplane that becomes even more problematic."
As of July 4, there are over 2.8 million cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and 129,408 confirmed deaths, according to data from the New York Times.
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