By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that leaving the middle seat open on airplanes could reduce COVID-19 exposure for passengers. However, most airlines have stopped doing that.

Even though the CDC says people should not travel unless it’s essential, airports are starting to get more crowded.

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Not everyone is worried about that.

“I feel safe, you know, they put you in good seat in the good area and they pass out the masks and everything for you,” said traveler Linda Edwards.

In the beginning of the pandemic, several airlines blocked off the middle seats so passengers could spread out more. But Delta is the only airline still doing that and only through the end of this month.

“So the flight was pretty crowded coming down. But I still I feel pretty confident with everybody that being vaccinated,” said passenger Christopher Martinez.

A new study by the CDC and Kansas State University finds leaving middle seats open during a flight could reduce exposure to COVID-19 by 23% to 57%, depending on the modeling.

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The study conducted in the fall did not take masking into consideration, which is now required when flying.

Still, the data shows physical distancing of passengers would be beneficial.

Some passengers agree it would be nice if airlines did not fill middle seats.

“It’s fun for us because we keep the middleman free. But, you know, if someone wants to sit there, I have no problem with that,” said traveler Robin True.

Because some people say there is going to be a risk of exposure no matter how careful you are before boarding the plane.

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“Everybody standing this close together. And as we’re all walking on, everyone’s this close together. So it’s a matter to catch up in this five minutes over the next five minutes,” said passenger Dave True. Team