American Airlines Is Sacrificing Cleaning To Make Flights Depart On Time

A while back, Simple Flying reported that British Airways was testing not cleaning short haul aircraft on some routes. It seems like transatlantic partner American Airlines has also picked up this dubious practice.

In this case, it looks like American Airlines is looking to improve their dismal on-time performance by reducing the time an aircraft is on the ground. Or, more likely, American Airlines is looking to put planes in the air where they can turn a profit.

American Airlines is known for a subpar on time performance. Photo: American Airlines

American Airlines is really looking to board flights the moment that the last passenger has deplaned. This is part of their strategy to pushback flights on time (or early) and arrive on time (or early) at their final destination. For some flights, this works. For other flights, this could be a bit of a nuisance.

Well, Gary from View from the Wing is now reporting some shocking notices coming out of Dallas in regards to aircraft cleaning.

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Dallas is American’s largest hub. They have a multitude of flights coming in and out. As American’s busiest hub, delays are more likely to happen here than at a smaller airport like San Antonio. For a morning flight, delays can send ‘shockwaves’ that increase over the course of the day. Before you know it, delayed inbounds and maintenance issues have caused the last flight of the day to be delayed by over 2 hours. No airline likes this, and American Airlines has been noted for their delays.

At Dallas in particular, cleaners are required to start getting on board and cleaning the aircraft ‘as soon as there is a break in deplaning’. Basically, this means cleaners should jump onboard the moment some passengers stop moving around, perhaps because they are collecting bags from overhead bins or waiting for passengers to step  into the aisle from a window seat. Once all passengers have deplaned, however, cleaners are not free to keep cleaning. Boarding is supposed to start right after the last passenger has deplaned, meaning that aircraft cleaning crews have to work fast.

It will remain to be seen if AA can keep their cabins fresh and clean with this new system. Photo: American Airlines

There is a bit of a relief in that cleaners can notify American’s Control Center at Dallas that more time is needed to clean the aircraft before boarding begins. Hopefully, cleaners do recognize when an aircraft is particularly dirty, especially after multiple short-haul flights without cleaning in a day, and call in for extra time to keep the aircraft fresh and hygienic.

The largest source of in-flight grime and rubbish comes from food consumed onboard. Snacks, such as Biscoff cookies, which are flying staples, can be quite crumbly and hide in the nooks of seats and seatback pockets. In addition, many travelers can find remnants of these cookies scattered on the carpet around the sides of the aircraft and the aisles.

Inflight Biscoff cookies are a culprit for in-flight messes. Photo: American Airlines

Aside of the Biscoffs, American also offers a snack basket with some crumbly contents that could be even more annoying. Snacks like nuts, popcorn, and chips can be crumbly, but can also remain intact and end up smushed in seat pockets and on the floor.

Though delightful, some of American’s snacks can cause a bit of a mess. Photo: American Airlines

In addition, most passengers will agree that a clean lavatory goes a long way to making a pleasant flight.

Ultimately, American Airlines is really focused on turning a profit and getting more planes out on time and in the air where they can make money. It remains to be seen how clean AA can keep their planes, but we hope that this practice doesn’t extend to long-haul flights.

Have you flown with American? Will you still fly with American? Let us know in the comments!

13 comments
  1. Any aircraft toilet should go through a deep, heavy, disinfected, hygienic, cleaning before each flight

    Inside a medium-haul airplane, there are of two toilets, for an average of 150 economy class passengers

  2. Oh, they rush, alright! American rushes everyone for a dime. They don’t even allow the flight attendants any time to get food between flights (nor are they provided food), so that, on most days, they can be stuck on a plane for more than 10 hrs without a meal.

  3. Note: American Airlines contracts out cabin service! NO American Airlines employee cleans planes! Just to get that straight!

    1. Ken just to keep it straight, in a hub their are cabin cleaners that AA contracts but in an out side station flight attendant cleans what she is able to pick up. Unfortunately there are no vacuums or brooms available.

  4. Also. This article is poorly written and devoid of fact. Have you gotten any official information from AA on their cleaning practices? Aircraft are regularly cleaned after every flight. Yes, some stations offer better service than others, but the planes are cleaned and spreading rumors that they’re not is just plain irresponsible.

    1. This story is based off an official notice from their DFW based station. We do our thorough research before publishing a story. Given the notice, AA’s heavy focus on D0, timelines, and multiple passenger experiences with AA, we had the credibility and proper information to publish this story.

  5. I fly AA all the time and the biggest problem???? Are the passengers, Every single flight I took last year I looked around as I deplaned and passengers left trash everywhere, not just from snacks or meals served on board but from fast foods they bought in the terminals. I feel sorry for the crew that ppl are such lazy mugs that they can’t pick up after themselves, it’s actually disgusting to see such messes, and you should see business class, they are worse passengers for being slobs. Just because you’re paying for your flight doesn’t mean you can be a lazy slob. If you want better service then police yourselves and don’t leave a mess for others to clean up because YOU THINK it’s their job to clean up after you. Would you allow your children or family or even visitors to trash your house and BE HAPPY to clean up after them??? Of course you freakin wouldn’t, so why do it at all, have some damn respect for other people and yourselves, being a slob just shows how lazy and disrespectful you are to others. No One in this world is entitled to trash anyone else

  6. I disagree with your “research”. I, too, am a flight attendant for AA and your article is void of many other pertinent facts. You’ve extremely misrepresented reality. Although there can be tight connections and cleaning times, this is not always the case as you’ve made it appear. You’ve neglected to tell the whole story.

    1. Would you like to provide me with these pertinent facts? I’m going off of an actual notice sent to the cleaners for AA’s aircraft at the Dallas station.

  7. On regional flights, this is 100 percent true. Flight attendants are responsible for cleaning the plane (and don’t get paid for this time by the way). Bathrooms get cleaned at hubs, but if the flight is running late then this step is skipped for the sake of getting the next flight out on time.

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