Air France suffers social distancing mishap on fully occupied flight

Seems like the airline industry isn’t quite getting the message when it comes to social distancing.

Following a photo of a Qantas flight from Townsville to Brisbane last week, which showed the domestic flight packed with passengers, another airline has gone against social distancing advice and filled almost every seat on board a plane.

The Air France flight, travelling between Paris and Marseilles Provence, appeared to have most seats filled.

One journalist on board the flight, Charlotte Gillard, who shared video on social media, said she was surprised to see the flight was fully booked considering other airlines like Delta and Alaska Airways – had put middle-seat bans in place.

Ms Gillard said she was “very surprised” to see the absence of any social distancing between the passengers – most of which were strangers.

“On the Paris-Marseilles I took, all the passengers were very surprised to see that the flight was complete and no separation measures were taken for the passengers,” she told Aviation 24.

“What is disturbing is that during the whole registration and boarding process at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport, the distances were respected. But as soon as we got on the plane, we were told that the flight is full! We were all taken aback, seated, huddled next to each other, most passengers without masks, and our face 30 centimetres from that of our neighbour!“, said the France 2 journalist.

Speaking to fellow passengers, Ms Gillard said the general feeling was confusion given how the rest of the world was adhering to social distancing measures.

“Instead of putting (on) one plane, they should put two! Even if it is not economical,” one passenger told the journalist.

It is understood the airline tries to implement some distance between travellers when possible by leaving the middle seat unoccupied, but that more frequent flights – such as the route between Paris and Marseilles – all seats must be booked.

Just last week, Qantas was panned for filling up almost every seat during a flight from Townsville to Brisbane over the Easter break.

One Twitter user shared a photo of a Qantas flight packed with passengers and questioned how a flight was able to travel with so many people on-board.

“How ON EARTH can it be acceptable that airlines aren’t required to leave the middle row vacant,” one person commented on the image.

“This is bad, when the rest of the country are isolating,” another added.

In a statement sent to, a Qantas spokesperson said most flights had only been around 30 per cent full – however, passenger numbers increased over the Easter weekend when this particular image was taken.

As a result, the airline has now implemented certain measures to ensure social distancing is implemented on board.

“We have introduced formal social distancing,” the spokesperson said in a statement to

“This means customers will be seated at the window or aisle with the middle seat remaining vacant.

“It’s important to note that there has been no known case of people contracting coronavirus on-board an aircraft anywhere in the world. This includes instances where a passenger has later turned out to have travelled while infected.”

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