A cardiologist has slammed United Airlines after finding himself on a packed flight out of New York on Saturday. 

Ethan Weiss took to Twitter to share a selfie from his seat on the 737 jet teeming with passengers. 

'I guess @united is relaxing their social distancing policy these days? Every seat full on this 737... This is the last time I'll be flying again for a long time,' he stated beneath the snap.   

a group of people sitting around a car: Ethan Weiss took to Twitter on Saturday sharing a selfie from his seat on board a United Airlines flight out of New York on Saturday © Provided by Daily Mail Ethan Weiss took to Twitter on Saturday sharing a selfie from his seat on board a United Airlines flight out of New York on Saturday

Weiss then shared a screenshot from a United email he received April 30, in which the company claimed they were 'automatically blocking middle seats' so passengers could practice safe social distancing. 

However, his selfie showed that many middle seats on board the flight were occupied 

'I guess a lot has changed in 10 days,' Weiss  wrote beneath the screenshot.  

Weiss went on to explain that he was among a group of 25 nurses and doctors who had been flown out to New York City  from San Francisco for free by United so that they could serve in The Big Apple's hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The groups was all flying back to San Francisco on Saturday. 

In a statement, United told DailyMail.com: 'Our flight to San Francisco had an additional 25 medical professionals on board who were flying for free to volunteer their time in New York - we've provided complimentary flights for more than 1,000 doctors and nurses in the past few weeks alone.'

a screenshot of a cell phone: Weiss slammed the airline for filling middle seats and appearing to relax its social distancing policies © Provided by Daily Mail Weiss slammed the airline for filling middle seats and appearing to relax its social distancing policies

While United has blocked customers from booking middle seat options, they can not always guarantee they will be unoccupied. 

The company's website states: 'Given our significantly reduced schedule, we want to ensure customers have an opportunity to get to their destinations, particularly in places where we're only operating a single flight per day, so some flights may have more customers on board than others depending on the particular route or frequency. 

However, most flights currently depart with many unoccupied seats. '

As for Saturday's flight home, Weiss remarked that fellow passengers on the plane were 'scared and shocked'. He stated he had 'no idea why most of them are traveling.'

In recent weeks, there have been several reports of packed planes flying across the US, causing anxiety among passengers.   

Earlier this week, a shocking video showing a 'packed' American Airlines flight departing from New York City went viral online. 

Grandmother-to-be Krissy Maloney shared the video to Facebook, and wrote: 'We flew from NYC, the US epicenter of Corona, no one said anything to anyone about distancing or even to pull your mask from under your chin.'

'Just beware if you have to fly, the airlines are doing nothing to make anyone feel like air travel could be safe.

'If my grandson wasn't coming any time now I would not have flown and if I knew the airline was going to completely lie about taking precautions than I would have driven.'

In a statement to DailyMail.com, American Airlines refuted Maloney's claims, saying 'the flight was not full, and not every seat was occupied,' adding that their COVID-19-induced safety protocol was fully complied with on Maloney's flight.

US Airline Coronavirus Safety Measures 

American Airlines: 

Blocking off 50 percent of its main cabin middle seats and any seats situated near the flight attendants' jump seats. The policy is effective through May 31.  

Hawaiian Airlines:

Crew will manually assign seats to 'increase personal space onboard' and prevent the booking of middle and adjoining seats. 

JetBlue

Not barring middle seats outright, however, flight staff are limiting the number of seats for sale on most aircrafts 'to provide additional space between individuals who are not traveling together.'

Spirit Airlines:

Middle seats on most of Spirit Airlines' aircraft will be blocked, according to the company's website. There is no end date specified.

Southwest Airlines

Instead of blocking off middles seats, the number of passengers allowed on board has been capped. Passengers are responsible for picking their own seats and managing their own space needs. The policy began May 2.

United Airlines:

 Passengers are limited from booking middle seats 'where available.' Aircraft that have two-seat rows will only allow one passenger to book a seat while the other remains empty. Additional spacing procedures include blocking off seats directly next to the booked seat, whether it be directly in front of a window seat or beside an aisle seat. The policy is in place through May 31.

US airlines are collectively burning more than $10 billion in cash a month and averaging fewer than two dozen passengers per domestic flight because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even after grounding more than 3,000 aircraft, or nearly 50 percent of the active US fleet, industry trade group Airlines for America said its member carriers, which include the four largest U.S. airlines, were averaging just 17 passengers per domestic flight and 29 passengers per international flight.

'The U.S. airline industry will emerge from this crisis a mere shadow of what it was just three short months ago,' the group's chief executive, Nicholas Calio, said during a prepared testimony at the US Senate on Wednesday.

Net booked passengers have fallen by nearly 100 percent year-on-year, according to the testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee.

The group warned that if air carriers were to refund all tickets, including those purchased as non-refundable or those canceled by a passenger instead of the carrier, 'this will result in negative cash balances that will lead to bankruptcy.'

US airlines have canceled hundreds of thousands of flights, including 80 percent or more of scheduled flights into June as U.S. passenger traffic has fallen by 95 percent since March.

Calio said airlines 'anticipate a long and difficult road ahead. ... History has shown that air transport demand has never experienced a V-shaped recovery from a downturn.'

The US Treasury has awarded nearly $25 billion in cash grants to airlines to help them meet payroll costs in exchange for them agreeing not to lay off workers through September 30. Major airlines have warned they will likely need to make additional cuts later this year to respond to a long-term decline in travel demand.


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