American Airlines to start booking at full capacity next week

FORT WORTH, Texas -- American Airlines will start booking flights to full capacity starting next Wednesday. The move contrasts sharply with rivals including Delta that limit bookings to create space between passengers.

American said Friday that it will continue to notify customers of full flights and let them change flights at no cost. The airline said it will also let passengers change seats on the plane if there is room if they stay in the same cabin.

Since April, American has said it limits bookings to leave about half of middle seats open. Delta, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue say they block middle seats or limit capacity. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has said social distancing is impossible on planes -- even with empty middle seats, people are less than six feet from each other. Photos and videos of full flights, including ones on American and United, have drawn criticism for their lack of social distancing.