JetBlue will no longer require planes to be boarded from back to front, eliminating a pandemic-era policy aimed at reducing contact between passengers.
Under the new policy, which The Points Guy reported went into effect on Monday, passengers on JetBlue will instead board in groups like they did before COVID-19 swept the world and forced carriers to reassess how they do things. The boarding process will start with pre-boarding for those with disabilities, passengers traveling in Mint, and Mosaic elites; followed by passengers who purchased Even More Space seats; active military personnel, and those traveling with small children; and finally Groups B, C, D, and E.
“At JetBlue we have promised to continue to evolve our Safety from the Ground Up program as we understand more about the coronavirus,” a representative for the airline told The Points Guy. “We continue to work within public health guidelines and take clinical guidance from [our] own medical experts to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our customers and crewmembers safe in this next phase of our ‘new normal.’
With these resources as our guides, we are returning to our grouped boarding process. It has become clear that mandatory face mask use and the hospital-grade air filtration on board every JetBlue aircraft are the keys to greatly reducing the risk on board, lower than other public settings. We will continue to disinfect commonly touched surfaces, offer sanitizer and wipes to customers, and remain focused on keeping our crewmembers healthy through safety protocols and screening.”
A representative for JetBlue did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure.
The airline’s decision to discontinue its COVID-19-modified boarding process comes months after JetBlue stopped blocking middle seats on flights. As of now, Delta Air Lines remains the sole U.S. carrier continuing to block the middle seat, extending the policy through at least April.
While JetBlue will no longer require passengers to board back to front, several other airlines — like Delta and United Airlines — are continuing to deploy the practice.
Airlines may have started to phase out some pandemic-era policies, but one rule isn’t going away so fast: mandatory mask wearing. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all travelers are required to wear masks on all forms of public transportation, including on planes and in airports.