Southwest plans to cut capacity and will leave middle seats open until Thanksgiving

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A bird flies in the foreground as a Southwest Airlines jet arrives for a landing at McCarran International Airport on May 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines said on Wednesday it had seen a “modest” improvement in bookings through October, helping it reduce its estimate of daily cash consumption for this quarter from $ 3 million to $ 17 million expected.Despite the surge in bookings, the Dallas-based airline expects revenue to drop 65% to 75% in October and capacity 40% to 50% from the same month last year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hamper demand for travel. It predicts that November capacity will drop 35% to 40% from 2019.

Southwest said it will extend a policy that leaves middle seats open on its flights, except for same-party travelers, until the end of November, in an effort to calm travelers nervous about flying in a pandemic and better compete at the beginning of the end of the holidays of the year. Delta Air Lines, for example, announced last month that it would limit flight capacity until January 6.

Southwestern stocks were little changed in morning trading.

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