As more people fly, more concerns have been raised over how to stay safe in flight. Going beyond requiring masks and tinkering with boarding sequence, American Airlines pilots, through their union, are calling for the government to buy the airlines' middle seats to keep space between passengers.
The Airline Pilots Association has another goal in mind as well: If the airlines are paid to keep the middle empty, they'll need to keep enough planes flying to pick up the slack, averting furloughs for pilots and other airline staff. The union refers to the plan as SEATS, or Safe Essential Air Transportation Seating.
Other groups may sign on to the plan, which has similarities to other suggestions, including one from President Trump to have the government buy seats in bulk now, and use them for official travel as needed later on.