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American Airlines Will Give Face Masks And Sanitizer To Passengers and Improve Cleaning

American Airlines Will Provide Face Masks
Courtesy: American Airlines

American Airlines Will Give Face Masks And Sanitizer To Passengers and Improve Cleaning

American Airlines announced on Monday that it is making some changes on board to provide cleaner aircraft and ramp up consumer confidence.  The airline announced enhanced cleaning and cleaning more often.  They also announced new face mask rules.  The announcement comes shortly after media attention focused on packed AA flights that didn’t seem to adhere to social distancing standards.

Here’s the short on what American Airlines announced:

  • More thorough cleaning procedures, more often.  This will include customer areas, tray tables, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window shades, and in-flight entertainment screens;
  • Require flight attendants to wear face masks, beginning May 1, 2020;
  • Provide sanitizing wipes and gels and face masks to customers starting in early May.  This will expand to all flights as supply and operational conditions allow;
  • Extra personal protective equipment stored in a drawer for flight attendant and pilot usage.

When I flew from DCA to LAX and LAX to DCA in mid-March, AA provided hand sanitizing wipes.  I was told that was to replace hand towels in first, so not sure if they also gave them out in economy as well.  Cathay Pacific also handed out hand sanitizing wipes right before departure.

AA had just announced the importance of cleaning prior to that flight, as coronavirus began spreading in the U.S.  But I had a tray table that definitely hadn’t been cleaned prior to boarding.  I’m hopeful that these protocols are followed to avoid things like that.  If there’s a sticky substance on a tray table, there’s no telling what other kind of germs are on there.

Consumer Confidence

We’ve seen airlines around the world changing procedures for cleaning.  Of course, there is a two-prong approach here, one of which is to make it safer for staff.  But also to enhance consumer confidence in the product itself.  People are wary to get on a plane, and airlines need to do what they can to provide that confidence.  American Airlines is likely hopeful that more thorough cleaning procedures and PPE policies will instill some of that confidence.

Earlier today, Airbnb announced its own set of policies to promote better cleaning procedures.  The updated procedures allow hosts to get certified, which the renter can see before booking.  That program includes more enhanced cleaning protocols and products, while also requiring a 24-hour period between stays.

Bottom Line

It’s hard to disagree with the prospect of a airplanes being cleaner and giving people the comfort of having access to PPE.  I’d definitely suggest that people still bring PPE with them just in case.  There is still major demand for PPE, and it’s unpredictable when the airline might be able to having it on all flights.  For that sake, I would come prepared yourself if it’s something that makes you feel more comfortable.

All that being said, I hope these new cleaning policies are here to stay.  I’ve regularly found dirty tray tables, another person’s trash, or a sticky seat on flights I’ve taken.  Coronavirus or no coronavirus, that’s something I would be glad to not experience.

Lastly, face mask policies are in line with CDC guidance, and so it’s smart to follow them.  It’s a good thing for American Airlines to give face masks to passengers.

(H/T to View From the Wing)

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  1. 1. Where is AA going to find the mask supply (at least ones that are not defective out of China). 2. The cleaning promises are about as trustworthy as the promise not to throw your luggage from the plane onto the ground. Been flying for 50 plus years and cleaning, well, never has been a strong suit for any airline that I’ve been on. Just open those back of the seat holders and see what’s in them. Yuck. Short of wearing a full body PPE with your own oxygen supply, its all a risk when one person sneezes, coughs openly aboard a sealed petri dish. More corporate PR.

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