United Says Enhanced Hygiene Procedures Won’t Disappear With Coronavirus

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United Airlines has been introducing several hygiene measures throughout its operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Even after the global health crisis is over, the Chicago-based carrier is determined to continue these practices.

United plane runway getty images
United is practicing good habits. Photo: Getty Images

What initiatives are in place?

During a virtual conference call on Thursday, newly-appointed CEO Scott Kirby spoke about his firm’s proactive approach. There will be several shifts throughout the company on the back of the virus outbreak. However, one of the positive changes will be the continued emphasis on cleanliness.

Along with free face masks, and the production of its own hand sanitizer, the operator has introduced the following measures:

  • 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.
United Airlines staff mask
United is turning old uniforms into face masks. Photo: United Airlines

It’s not just a trend

Regarding the continuation of these practices, Kirby said that there will be a permanent focus when it comes to hygiene. He said the below in the conference call, which was attended by Simple Flying.

“I think one of the things that will be a permanent change is safety, cleanliness, hygiene, onboard aircraft. Let’s even say we’ve gotten to a vaccine, and nobody is worried about COVID-19 anymore, this is going to live with all of us for the rest of our lives.”

Showing its intent

Kirby continued to say that even though passengers generally can’t be six feet apart on a flight, an airplane environment is incredibly safe. On its aircraft, United is recirculating air through HEPA filters every two to three minutes. He added that he doesn’t know of any other place where people are going to be around each other where that’s happening.

United airlines aircraft parked
Most of the carrier’s aircraft remain on the ground amid the health crisis. Photo: Getty Images

Moreover, it is compulsory to wear masks onboard. Therefore, it’s not a super spreader environment where people are talking loud. Additionally, the operator is working on implementing antimicrobial coatings. These could be applied to several surfaces and would kill microbes and viruses when they land on them.

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Therefore, United is confident that it has created and will continue to create a safe space onboard the aircraft. This is not only for now as these habits are going to last even past the COVID-19 crisis.

Currently, United is telling customers in advance if they’re on an airplane that might be over 70% full. If this is the case, passengers have the flexibility to switch flights, turn it into a travel credit, or not travel at all if they want to.

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Nonetheless, it is the air filters, cleaning procedures and the wearing of masks that United is primarily focusing on when it comes to cabin safety. Altogether, these three processes will be vital in making an aircraft safe.

What are your thoughts about United’s hygiene measures? Are you glad to see that the airline will continue implementing them after the pandemic is over? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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