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An Interview With United’s CCO on Upcoming Coronavirus Changes

WebMD recently sat down with United Airlines’ Chief Communications officer John Earnst about the upcoming changes due to the coronavirus. Here’s what we learned so far:

The new safety measures implemented for airline travel

  • They will require all passengers and crew members to wear masks
  • People will board from the rear of the plane (to help keep passengers socially distant)
  • Flight attendants will hand out sanitizing wipes (for your hands or the area around your seat)
  • The “vast majority” of flights will only be half full
  • Minimized interactions with flight attendants
  • 24-hour advance notification if your flight is more than 70% full (with a list of alternative flight options so that passengers can change their itinerary)


CORRECTION: This article originally stated that flights would only be half full. The exact quote from the video is that the “vast majority” of flights are half full.

PaulMSN June 18, 2020

Wow, a full-on conspiracy theorist who flies.

CEB June 17, 2020

Even if one ignores the SARS-COV-2 direct concerns, the fact is that prices are higher, service is lower, and routes are incredibly circuitous. All of these things depress the desire to fly and limit the market in and of themselves. Not likely that travel will recover quickly in any form under these conditions.

June 17, 2020

Having been on a few flights, not too pleasant even in J. No hot tea of coffee not good. Not sure where risk is if FA wears disposable gloves while serving. Probably not a bad idea even post COVID. Leisure travel not going to happen until restaurants open up and flight frequency increases. Lack of connections really inconvenient.

Mint Fresh June 9, 2020

2020: The year the human immune system (that has worked for tens of thousands of years) just decided to stop working, I suppose? Sigh...

jamesteroh June 8, 2020

Hopefully if it's an aircarft where they can board through door 2L they will allow First to still board first so passengers will have a shot at bin space. If they have to board through the front door then I hope the FA's keep an eye on the bins in first. It'll be a real pain if first has to board last and can't find bin space because lazy coach passengers put their bag in the first open bin they could find