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 Sacrificing Cleaning To Make Flights Depart On Time
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.

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.

American Airlines Is Sacrificing Cleaning To Make Flights Depart On Time
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.

American Airlines Is Sacrificing Cleaning To Make Flights Depart On Time
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.

American Airlines Is Sacrificing Cleaning To Make Flights Depart On Time
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!