Coronavirus travel upside: More airlines banish the dreaded middle seat - USA TODAY

More airlines are temporarily banishing one of the most dreaded aspects of modern air travel: being assigned a middle seat.

To further the goal of social distancing and stem the spread of the coronavirus, some airlines are no longer assigning passengers to the middles in coach. 

In good times, leaving a third of the plane’s seats unfilled would be considered financial suicide for airlines. But with few people flying and the need to space out those who are, now it’s deemed a necessary public-health move.

Delta, Alaska and Spirit are among the air carriers that say they’ve temporarily abolished booking middle seats. 

Even Johnny Manziel, a former star quarterback, has had to endure the middle seat.

Other airlines are adopting modified versions of the idea.

American, for instance, is blocking off 50% of its middle seats. “Our team also monitors flights closely to maintain social distancing,” said spokesman Ross Feinstein.

And JetBlue says simply that it won’t assign passengers to about a third of its seats, noting that seat layouts vary based on aircraft