CDC study: Leaving middle seat open on planes could reduce COVID-19 exposure A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found leaving the middle seat vacant on planes could reduce COVID-19 exposure for passengers, supporting a practice that has now been abandoned by most airlin The CDC says empty middle seats reduce COVID-19 exposure on flights. Will airlines bring social distancing back?Most airlines have stopped the pandemic practice of blocking seats, saying safety measures are in place reduce travel risk. Study finds that blocking seats on planes reduces virus risk - The Boston GlobeA new study says leaving middle seats open could give airline passengers more protection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Blocking middle seats on planes reduces virus risk by half, US study suggestsBlocking middle seats on planes reduces virus risk by half, US study suggests Empty middle seats reduce virus risk on planes, a new study says, taking no account of mask-wearing.The risk of exposure on a flight is lowered by 23 to 57 percent if middle seats are kept unoccupied, according to the study. But it did not look at what protection mask-wearing could provide.