US carrier Alaska Airlines is further refining its anti-COVID precautions and working towards less contact between guests and employees during the travel experience. Today, it is announcing the creation of “more convenience and less contact” with new touch-free options throughout the travel process.
Airlines everywhere have been refining and developing their efforts to keep their cabins as clean and germ-free as possible. Through these efforts, it is hoped that the transmission of COVID-19 will be reduced. Another result will be a greater peace of mind for travelers stepping onboard an aircraft during this period of hypersensitivity to the invisible world of harmful viruses and bacteria.
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Alaska Airlines’ touch-free options
Over the coming weeks, new touch-free options for Alaska guests and employees will include the following:
- The ability to pre-order meals and purchase food and beverages onboard using a stored credit card (pending return of food and drink for purchase in the main cabin).
- The ability to print bag tags without having to touch check-in kiosks.
- The ability for agents to scan boarding passes up to six feet away while boarding.
- The ability to receive a text message instead of a printed boarding pass if guests don’t already have the Alaska Airlines mobile app.
- The ability to get an emailed receipt for baggage instead of a printed receipt.
“These advancements help make the travel experience easy and almost entirely touch-free for our guests and are just part of the many ways we’re keeping our guests and employees safe during this time,” –Charu Jain, Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Innovation
While most of these functions will not require using the Alaska Airlines mobile app, the airline states that it is “still the single best tool to limit contact while traveling.” The app will allow guests to perform the following functions:
- Check-in for their flight
- Generate a mobile boarding pass
- Change seats
- Prepay for bags
- Check and be informed of flight statuses, gate changes, and boarding notifications
Other Alaska Airlines precautions
In addition to emphasizing a touch-free flying experience, Alaska Airlines has implemented a long list of changes to the air travel experience to try and limit the spread of COVID-19. Here are just a few of these new policies:
- Flyers must always wear a cloth mask or face covering when at the airport or onboard Alaska aircraft. Part of this is the distribution of a “yellow card” for guests who violate this mandatory mask policy (see example below.)
- Passengers must complete a health agreement at check-in to acknowledge and attest to their willingness to adhere to the mask requirement.
- French lavender-scented sanitizing wipes have been made available on all Alaska and Horizon Air flights.
- Enhanced cleaning between every flight.
- Limited onboard service to reduce interactions.
A good reminder of airline efforts
While none of these steps are by any means earth-shattering and breaking news, it does help to get the message out that efforts are being made to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Before this pandemic, smartphone apps were marketed for their convenience and were an advantage to airlines in limiting the number of customers calling or lining up at check-in desks. Now, the exact same ‘technology’ is being re-marketed as an anti-COVID measure.
What do you think of the efforts being made by Alaska Airlines? Is there anything that you feel is missing from the above lists? Let us know in the comments.