Monday,  August 3, 2020  7:07 pm

Canadians are not comfortable flying since seat distancing was removed, poll finds


Canadians are not comfortable flying since seat distancing was removed, poll finds
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

This month, WestJet and Air Canada made the call to end their physical distancing policies on their airplanes. 

For several months, the carriers had been blocking the sale of middle seats to participate in Canada’s orders to practice social distancing (and to offer peace of mind to those who happened to still be travelling by air).

The move aligns with recommendations made by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has long disapproved of social distancing rules on airplanes, claiming that mask wearing and HEPA filters are enough to halt the spread of COVID-19.

READ MORE: WestJet, Air Canada ending seat distancing policies

Since removing their physical distancing policies, Air Canada and WestJet have struggled to win mass support from the travelling public.

Canadians want the middle seat free

Now, a new poll suggests that many Canadians are not comfortable with the idea of middle seats being filled again.

In a recent survey conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, seventy-two per cent of Canadians said they are not comfortable flying now that airlines have axed their social distancing policies.

Additionally, just 22 per cent said they were comfortable boarding an airplane with no in-flight physical distancing but with a requirement to wear masks.

(Masks have been mandatory air passengers and crew for some time now, as ordered by Transport Canada).

The poll also suggests that many Canadians likely won't board an airplane anytime soon. 

Eighty-five per cent of those surveyed reported that they have no plans to travel outside the country by the end of 2020.

The Leger/Association of Canadian Studies survey polled 1,517 Canadians from July 3rd to 5th.


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