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United and JetBlue Amp Up Their Sanitary Precautions

Recently, some airlines have come under fire for packed flights during the pandemic. The backlash has prompted carriers JetBlue and United to amp up their health measures to restore passenger confidence, and Airlines for America (A4A) has released its new “Fly Healthy, Fly Smart” initiative to promote responsible flying etiquette.

Amped Up Sanitary Precautions

JetBlue and United have both implemented additional sanitary precautions to reassure passengers they are safe to fly during the pandemic. On Wednesday, JetBlue announced they will be blocking off the middle seat on all their Airbus aircraft, and the aisle seats on their smaller planes. Face masks will also be required when flying.

United has released its new CleanPlus initiative to put the “health and safety at the forefront of the entire customer experience.” The company has partnered with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to enhance social distancing and cleanliness thorough touchless kiosks, sneeze guards, and mandatory face masks. Furthermore, United will also be providing Clorox products at its U.S. airports, beginning with Denver and Chicago.

In a video message, CEO Scott Kirby said, “Safety has always been our top priority, and right now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it’s our singular customer focus. We recognize that COVID-19 has brought cleanliness and hygiene standards to the front of customers’ minds when making travel decisions, and we’re not leaving a single stone unturned in our pursuit to better protect our customers and employees.”

Fly Healthy, Fly Safe

As states and countries begin lifting lockdown restrictions, travel demand is expected to increase. To prepare, Airlines for America (A4A) has created a guide to help passengers stay healthy when flying. A4A outlines what airlines are doing for passengers to “fly healthy,” such as requiring face masks, using HEPA filtration systems, disinfecting surfaces on aircraft and at the airport, sterilizing with electrostatic foggers, and limiting contact between cabin crew and passengers. It also outlines what passengers can do to “fly smart,” such as wearing a face mask, frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, using your smartphone for check-in, covering your face when you cough, and encouraging you to stay home if you are sick.

kkua May 28, 2020

I saw a woman cause a scene on during boarding process when she saw a fellow FDNY first responder sitting in a row in front of her. The plane was empty enough to give every passenger a triple seat… and yet, she screamed social distancing protocols dictate nobody can sit in the row in front, or behind her. The rowdy and rude behavior should have not been tolerated. In the end, the two passengers who moved away from the nasty woman were awarded compensatory miles for moving to a different seat.

sdsearch May 22, 2020

All this cleaning of airplanes may be great, but what about the airport and the ways of getting to/from the airport (including shuttles to/from remote parking, and/or shuttles to/from remote gates)? There's a lot more steps involved in flying than just being on the plane, even if the plane is clean AND has social distance in the seating due to a light load and/or blocked seats, that doesn't make it necessarily easy to avoid crowding at ALL steps getting between your home and the plane.

jficht May 22, 2020

Most airlines require masks but they also continue to serve refreshments. On a recent American flight from ELP to ORD I managed to nurse two gin & tonics for almost the entire trip and only had the mask on for about ten minutes. Only three of the twelve first class seats were occupied.

jonsail May 21, 2020

Thinking more about this: If the airline would give me or I could buy a 3M N95 mask (which offer the wearer some real protection), then I would be tempted to fly. However, at this time, I can't buy a N95 mask that I know meets N95 standards although there are plenty of masks being advertised that claim N95 something or other.

jonsail May 21, 2020

The airlines have 3 problems with convincing people it is safe to fly: 1) The rest of the country is being pushed to social distance to the detriment of restaurants which can only operate at partial capacity. Some people are going bananas over folks being too close together on the beach. So whether or not the middle seat is blocked, people don't understand why it is ok to cram into airlines w/o social distancing. 2) Some significant minority of Americans think covid-19 is some sort of Democratic hoax so you can't trust folks with that belief to follow whatever rules there are 3) Some airlines have said they won't enforce rules such as requiring pax to wear masks. So, a lot of us just don't think it is safe to spend 5 hours crammed into an aluminum tube.