Qtrip News

What are airlines doing to keep me safe when I fly?

Qtrip Team

May 4, 2020

Qtrip travelers have asked what airlines are doing in the era of Covid-19, and while there are no perfect solutions, we are tracking new developments, and will keep you updated as airlines continue to roll out safety measures.

man looking out airplane window

The evidence shows face masks that cover the nose and mouth protect the public when worn properly. Jetblue was the first domestic airline to mandate face masks for all of its customers, but more airlines have come out in the past few days with similar policies, and we expect this policy to become standard as the weeks and months progress. Here’s a current list of airlines who’ve adopted mandatory face masks, along with other safety considerations:

Alaska Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for all travelers as of May 11, 2020. Passengers will be required to bring their own face coverings.

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Required for all team members while on duty

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • All aircraft are now fogged with high-grade EPA-registered disinfectant in public areas
  • Expanded deep cleaning procedures in all public and team member areas of the aircraft (including the cockpit)
  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system

Other safety measures:

  •  Middle seats left empty on larger aircraft and aisle seats empty on smaller aircraft to help maintain social distancing (through June 30; policy being evaluated on an ongoing basis)
  • Modified/reduced meal service to limit crew/passenger interactions

American Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for all travelers (except for young children or anyone with a condition that prevents them from wearing one). Limited extra masks are available for passengers. AA asks that all travelers bring their own.

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Required for all team members while on duty

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • All aircraft are now fogged with high-grade EPA-approved, hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria within 10 minutes, and lasts up to 7 days
  • Expanded deep cleaning procedures in all public and team member areas of the aircraft (including the cockpit)
  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system

Other safety measures: 

As more people get back to traveling and loads are higher, AA is deploying new tools to notify customers and allow them to move to more open flights when available, all without incurring any cost:

  • Gate agents may reassign seats to create more space between customers or to accommodate families who need to be seated together. Once boarding is complete, taking into consideration any aircraft weight or balance restrictions, customers can move to another seat within their ticketed cabin subject to availability.
  • More frequent cleaning of kiosks, ticket counters, passenger service counters and baggage service offices 
  • Commercial-grade plexiglass shields installed at ticket counters, boarding gates and service desks
  • Some computers and kiosks at ticket counters turned off to create more space between customers
  • Modified/reduced meal service to limit crew/passenger interactions
  • Hand sanitizing wipes or gels will be available on most international flights and some domestic flights over 900 miles. Customers are also welcome to bring up to a 12 ounce bottle of sanitizer in their carry-on

Delta Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for all travelers as of May 4, 2020

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Required for all team members while on duty

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • All domestic and international aircraft are now fogged overnight with high-grade EPA-registered disinfectant
  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system

Other safety measures through June 30:

  • Modified boarding procedures, from back of the plane to front by row. Delta One, First Class or Diamond Medallion members can board at any time.
  • Reducing total number of passengers per flight to help maintain social distancing
  • Blocking middle seats in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort and Delta Premium Select (seating capped at 60%)
  • First Class seating capped at 50%
  • No upgrades processed at the gate
  • Family members and travel companions who would like to sit together should speak to a gate agent
  • Scaling back food and beverage service to “essentials” only, in order to minimize physical touch points between passengers and staff

Frontier Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for all travelers as of May 8, 2020

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Required for all team members while on duty

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • All aircraft regularly cleaned using disinfectant deemed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against COVID-19.
  • Elevated cleaning and sanitation of aircraft beyond standard practice during this time.

Other safety measures:

  • Effective June 1, 2020, temperature screenings will be implemented for all passengers and onboard staff prior to boarding. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees fahrenheit or higher will not be permitted to board. Touchless thermometers will be used. Travelers will be given two attempts to provide a clean screening before being denied boarding. Frontier will work to reschedule travel for those who are not permitted to board. 
  • Frontier adheres to the recommendations set forth by the CDC for “Preventing Spread of Disease on Commercial Aircraft” and also adheres to stringent internal guidelines

Hawaiian Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for passengers throughout the journey

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Masks and gloves are available for team members but not required as stated on the Hawaiian Air website on May 1, 2020

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system
  • Thoroughly disinfect aircraft after each transpacific flight.
  • Interisland aircraft are cleaned after every flight into Honolulu and disinfected nightly

Other safety measures:

  •  Seat modifications to help maintain social distancing
  • No beverage refills and no hot towel service at this time
  • Complimentary sanitizing wipes provided for all passengers

Jetblue Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for all travelers as of May 4, 2020

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Required for all team members while on duty

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • Increased overnight cleaning and during longer stops during the day
  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system

Other safety measures:

  • Encourage travelers to self-scan boarding passes by downloading a mobile pass from the Jetblue app to reduce touchpoints
  • Crew members will wear medical grade gloves when delivering food service on board
  • Food service will be more limited (water and single snack offerings instead of “snack basket” multiple options) in general economy
  • Reducing total number of passengers per flight to allow for proper social distancing
  • Crew members proactively reviewing seat assignments to allow for even more space where possible
  • Creating “buffer zones” around all inflight crew member jumpseats, for additional crew and customer safety
  • Temporarily suspending sales of all in-flight products including beer, wine and blankets
  • Food service will continue for Mint customers but all glassware and mugs will be single use

Southwest Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for all travelers as of May 11, 2020. If you forget a mask at home, one will be provided for you.

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Required for all team members while on duty

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • An electrostatic disinfectant and anti-microbial spray is applied on every surface of the aircraft
  • Beginning mid-May, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, will be used to clean commonly used areas (onboard lavatories, tray tables, armrests, seat belts, flight attendant call buttons, and overhead bin handles) before every flight
  • Deep cleaning of each plane from nose to tail for nearly 6-7 hours every night
  • Gate areas, ticket counters, and baggage claim areas are cleaned multiple times a day
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the airport and wipes will be available onboard for customers
  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system
  • The Southwest Promise can be viewed here

Other safety measures:

  • Reducing total number of passengers per flight
  • Middle seats unoccupied through June. If you are traveling with a companion or family member you can still sit together
  • Boarding in groups of 10 to minimize close contact, and on one side of the boarding poles only
  • Temporarily discontinued in-flight beverage and snack service on all flights

Spirit Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for passengers throughout their journey

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Not directly addressed though the airline adheres to the recommendations set forth by the CDC for “Preventing Spread of Disease on Commercial Aircraft” which includes wearing masks and other PPE when aiding a passenger suffering from respiratory symptoms.

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • Clorox solutions are used in to disinfectant ticket counters, gate areas, and kiosks in check-in and boarding areas
  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system
  • Electrostatic cleaning devices are used to disinfect Spirit ticket counters, gates, break rooms, maintenance centers, and crew bases in high-traffic airports
  • Enhanced supply kits have elevated onboard cleaning
  • Social-distancing signage has been added at high-traffic ticket counter areas

Other safety measures:

  • Guests are encouraged to travel with extra antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Snack and beverage service by request only
  • Removed seat back literature to minimize touch points for travelers
  • Self-bag drop

United Airlines

Masks for passengers:
Required for all travelers as of May 4, 2020. United will provide masks to those passengers who need them, though travelers are encouraged to bring their own.

Masks for staff / flight attendants:
Required for all team members while on duty

Enhanced aircraft cleaning standards:

  • Implemented electrostatic spraying into cleaning procedures on all inbound long-haul international flights, and mainline overnight aircraft at U.S. hubs. In June, all aircraft will have electrostatic spray on every departure, in addition to disinfecting customer touch points and surfaces before every flight.
  • State-of-the-art HEPA air filtration system

Other safety measures:

  • Limiting seat selection in all cabins
  • Boarding fewer customers at a time, and boarding row by row from back of aircraft to front (Pre-boarding will not change)
  • Reducing onboard contact by minimizing touchpoints – changing current food service and eliminating in-flight purchases temporarily
  • Closing many self-service kiosk in airports and encouraging travelers to self-scan boarding passes
  • Implementing social distancing signage in the airports1 and deploying sneeze guards at key interaction points including check-in counters and gate podiums
  • Supporting team members to maintain health: staff temperature checks and reduced close contact
  • Processing of Complimentary Premier Upgrades will continue at departure gate in priority order

Updated 6/10/20 This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available

Qtrip Team

2 Comments

    1. Qtrip Team
      Qtrip Team

      The TSA and the airlines are currently putting a lot of new safety measures into place. We think you’ll be pleased with the new policies, but it does take some time to roll out and get things up and running. We’ll keep you posted as new safety and health policies are implemented.

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