United Joins American With Free Face Masks For Passengers

United Airlines has confirmed today that it will start distributing free face masks to its passengers from next month. The Chicago-based carrier is also making it compulsory for flight attendants to wear the new equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

United Airlines, Battery Fire, Airbus A320
United Airlines is showing its intent when it comes hygiene. Photo: Getty Images

Ongoing issues

The airline joins its counterpart American Airlines, which also just announced that it will be giving free masks to its customers. With the virus outbreak not showing any immediate signs of reversing, operators are looking for ways to make sure that services can be as safe as possible.

Even though most commercial planes across the globe are currently on the ground, carriers are still performing on some essential routes. Those in the air will no doubt be concerned about their health while traveling. Therefore, United is keen to help them feel comfortable on their journeys.

coronavirus hong kong
The wearing of masks is becoming increasingly encouraged. Photo: Getty Images

New habits

The firm is continuously introducing methods to help its operations run as smoothly as they can amid the pandemic. From its bases to its aircraft, the operator is eager to ensure best hygiene practices are met.

“Our flight attendants are required to wear face masks onboard and, beginning in early May, we will make face masks available to our customers as well,” a United spokesperson told Simple Flying.

“These mitigation measures are the latest steps in our broader efforts to help ensure a safe environment for our customers and our employees, in the air and at the airport.”

This announcement regarding face masks follows a series of previous initiatives put in place by United. Earlier this month, the company shared that it is manufacturing its own hand sanitizers at its maintenance center in San Francisco. Ultimately, these products will help staff members keep their hands clean across the business.

United Airlines Pilots
United’s crew will feel a little more at ease as some sort of protection against the virus in place. Photo: Getty Images

Extra efforts

Additionally, the airline has formally introduced four other key measures due to the outbreak.

According to United’s website, the initiatives include:

  • Enhanced cabin sanitization – electrostatic spraying has been integrated into cleaning procedures on all inbound long-haul international flights, and mainline overnight aircraft at the operator’s US hubs.
  • Reduced onboard contact – the minimizing of touchpoints by changing current food processes and the temporary removal of inflight items.
  • State-of-the-art circulation systems – these remove up to 99.7% of airborne particles.
  • Social distancing at the airport – while minimizing contact, there will soon be sneeze guards at key interaction points.

Ultimately, it is great that United is maintaining a strong focus on hygiene throughout the company. Every department of the airline is seeing an overhaul when it comes to cleanliness. Altogether, these proactive practices will create positive habits, and it may become the norm to see some aspects stick around after the outbreak calms down.

What are your thoughts about United and American giving free coronavirus masks to their customers? Should other airlines follow? Let us know what you think in the comment section.