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Air Travel In Coronavirus Age: Experts Say If You're Nervous To Fly, Airlines Will Try To Work With You

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, travel experts say the number of passengers getting on planes is increasing.

CBS2's Cory James found out recently what rights you have if you feel your flight may make social distancing impossible.

Would you get on a packed plane right now? James showed video to some people at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday, showing passengers on a recent filled-up American Airlines flight.

"I'd probably be hesitant to board a plane that's full right now," added Greg Michelson of Newark.

American Airlines tweeted the passenger and said it encourages people to always check with crew members for a possible seat change.


But as more people begin to travel, social distancing on planes during the COVID-19 outbreak could be more of a problem. This month, companies like American Airlines cut back on at least 60% of their flights, and starting in May some are reportedly planning to suspend more.

"If you feel anxious, don't get on board," said Jonathon Breeze, the CEO of Aardvark Compare, a company that specializes in travel insurance.

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Breeze said when booking a trip look for cheaper flights because they are often emptier. However, he told CBS2 if the plane ends up being full, ask the gate attendant to switch to a different flight or a row with fewer people.

"The airline has no contractual obligation because you feel uncomfortable, but what the airline will do is try to help you, a customer," Breeze said.

A moral obligation that New York-based travel expert Francesca Page said some are starting to show.

"Airlines are implementing new safety measures [that] JetBlue kind of started. American Airlines is following with things like actual members of the aircraft wearing masks, themselves, and they might be able to hand out masks as well," Page said.

Signs of change as we all adjust to a new normal in the middle of a global pandemic.

Travel experts also say another option is you can fly first class, which will help your social distance by giving you more space between you and another passenger.

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