Due to the COVID-19 or what is commonly known as the coronavirus, airlines are taking extra precautions to keep passengers healthy in the midst of travel restrictions.
Airline carriers are doing a great job at making sure passengers are comfortable when traveling domestically. Airlines such Delta, American, JetBlue, Southwest and United, are in frequent and close contact with health agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, which recently published updated procedures for cleaning aircraft cabins.
Carriers have been proactive in communicating cleanliness standards and many have started spraying a high-grade disinfectant on every cabin surface. The disinfectant, that is sprayed through a fog machine, covers the air, ceiling, seats, trays, floors, lavatories, crew rest areas and galleys.
“In early February, we introduced an electrostatic fogging procedure. Using fogging machines, our team sanitized the aircraft cabin with a high-grade, EPA-registered disinfectant that sticks to cabin surfaces. This disinfectant is highly effective against many communicable diseases, including coronaviruses. Before the boarding process begins, a Delta customer-service agent and a Delta flight attendant will personally inspect the aircraft to make sure it’s clean. If it doesn’t meet our standards, our employees have the authority to hold the flight for additional cleaning,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer.
Sanitizer and wipes are also being handed out to passengers and crew members are going the extra mile by continuously wiping down window shades, overhead bins and even seatbelts. There is no limit to how airlines will keep passengers healthy. For example, United Airlines has cleaning measures that include removing entire aircraft if needed. If the CDC advises of an employee or passenger who has traveled onboard who is potentially exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, the aircraft will be taken out of service and sent through a full decontamination process that includes United’s standard cleaning procedures, plus washing ceilings and overhead bins and scrubbing the interior.
Deepening cleaning habits inside of cabins is one solution to stay healthy, but what about the air? Passengers should find comfort in knowing that all U.S. carriers note that most of their aircraft have High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. The HEPA filter removes 99.7% of airborne particles and brings in fresh outside air, rotating every three minutes.
Airports across the nation have been instructed to increase cleaning procedures across terminals as well. Frequently touched and high traffic areas are being wiped down more often and restrooms receive cleanings with EPA approved products. An increased number of hand sanitizing stations have been populated around check-points and inspections areas. Even airport transportation areas are being addressed by cleaning bus/car and parking ticket machines, seating, handles, doors and turnstiles.
The entire airline industry is doing its part in keeping everyone in a healthy state. The containment and end of the coronavirus are of utmost importance and airlines are taking great lengths in cleaning areas and travelers should feel more comfortable when flying.