By Karli Barnett

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Before you book a plane ticket, some recent travelers say they want to share a warning after their flights were too close for comfort.

Jascinth Lindo said she was caught off guard.

“Basically, the person was almost on top of me,” she explained.

Lindo was in a window seat, while the other woman was in the center seat.

“I tried to twist toward the window, but we still had very close body contact. I ended up taking a picture showing her arm on top of my arm,” Lindo said.

She flew Spirit Airlines from Kingston, Jamaica to Fort Lauderdale to attend a funeral. Lindo knew that there was no guarantee that she would be far apart from other passengers, but she did not know the plane would be at capacity and wishes there had been a warning so she could have possibly changed her flight.

“It was explained that spirit doesn’t guarantee that the seats will be empty, but what I wasn’t anticipating, was the fact that it would be required for me to be in such close body contact,” Lindo said.

She said the airports and security did a good job of keeping everyone spread out, but feels like the efforts were in vain.

“You’re social distancing before the flight and after the flight, but not during the flight which is where you spend a whole 90 minutes,” she said.

Lovely Elien describes a similar situation on Spirit.

“I didn’t expect it to be like that,” she said. “Especially at a time like this.”

She had flown JetBlue to Haiti after the death of a loved one. On the way back, she flew Spirit, unaware that not every airline blocks the middle seat.

“This is not a moment to be traveling unless you have an emergency. That’s how I feel about it,” Elien said “When I flew with JetBlue, they had every other seat— an empty seat in between everybody— so that felt a little bit better.”

The only airlines that block middle seats are Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska and Hawaiian.

JetBlue will continue this through September 8, Delta and Southwest until September 30, Alaska until October 31, and Hawaiian has not specified.

Not everyone describes cramped conditions.

“Our flight was great. We flew Allegiant,” says Jamie Wilson, who was flying from Indiana. “It was pretty much empty, just me and my husband. We actually had the whole row, so we had six seats.”

“I didn’t sit by anybody on the flight,” said Travis Sedlock, who flew Southwest.

All major airlines do require masks to be worn on the flight.

A representative from Spirit Airlines reviewed the photo from Lindo, with her shoulder to shoulder with another passenger.

The rep said he sent out a reminder to crews to do their best to intervene in those situations when possible, by perhaps trying to arrange other flight accommodations.

He also emphasized their strict mask policy put in place to help keep people safe and discussed their disinfecting cleaning procedures after each flight.

Karli Barnett

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