Delta Air Lines is moving to put hand sanitizing stations onboard its aircraft. Installations began on August 28th with the airline’s Boeing 757-200 fleet. The hand sanitizer stations are part of the airline’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Hand sanitizer stations onboard aircraft
Delta will be outfitting its aircraft with hand sanitizer near the boarding door and bathrooms on all of its mainline aircraft. The airline bills this as an extension of the airline’s health response to the ongoing pandemic as the airline has, thus far, placed hand sanitizing stations in plenty of locations starting at its ticketing desks, to its Sky Clubs, to gate areas, and even at baggage claims so customers can sanitize their hands.
The installations began on Friday, August 28th, on board Boeing 757-200s. From then on, Delta is rolling out the feature on its aircraft. Each plane will have up to five hand sanitizer stations depending on the size of the jet and the number of customers that can be seated on board.
Delta has also been handing out sanitizing wipes to customers as they board and providing a sanitizing wipe or gel pouch inside the snack bag that customers get during the inflight service. These hand sanitizing stations seem to be in addition to those features.
While hand sanitizing is great, hand washing is also essential. Delta has installed hand-washing reminders in each lavatory on more than 130 aircraft. The goal is to expand this to all of its aircraft.
Touch-free features in the lavatory
Delta is also billing some of the latest lavatory touch-free features onboard its new Airbus A350s and A330-900neos and refurbished Boeing 767-400ERs and 757-200s. These jets feature touchless faucets, flush levers, and waste lids.
Delta continues to look for ways to insert new touchless experiences onboard its aircraft to minimize any sort of viral spread. ANA recently trialed hands-free lavatory doors, but it is unclear if Delta is also in the market for such a product.
Continued enhanced cleaning
In lavatories, flight attendants are wiping down high-touch surfaces frequently during the flight. The crew use kits that include disinfectant spray, wipes, and gloves to clean lavatories inflight. Flight attendants are responsible for making sure that lavatories are clean, tidy, and fully stocked with supplies. While that does not mean going in after each customer and sanitizing the entire bathroom, it hopefully does mean frequent trips to disinfect.
In addition, before boarding, the plane undergoes a full sanitization using electrostatic sprayers before each and every flight. The airline uses a high-grade disinfectant to wipe down areas of the cabin such as tray tables, seatbacks, seatback screens, and lavatories.
Once the cleaning is complete, the crew and a gate agent go through the entire aircraft and decide whether or not the plane needs additional cleaning. Delta has authorized flights to be held for departure if cleaning is not satisfactory.
How much of this is here to stay?
Touch-free features and hand-washing reminders in the lavatory will definitely stay. Hand-washing is a great idea, even when there is not a pandemic, and helps maintain general hygiene and prevents other common illnesses. The touch-free features make the lavatory experience better and cleaner.
The hand sanitizing stations will also likely stick around. Staying healthy inflight is a new focus for a lot of travelers, and Delta has sought to ensure that it is recognized as a brand that wants to make sure its aircraft are clean and ready to go for each flight.
The electrostatic spraying is a different story. Once the pandemic passes, Delta may decide to continue using electrostatic spraying maybe once a day after a jet has completed all of its flights instead of using it before each flight. Other airlines have been using disinfectants to spray each flight once a week or so.
Do you think the hand sanitizing stations are a good idea? What aspects of Delta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic do you want to stick around? Let us know in the comments.