Airlines for America (A4A) – the industry trade organization representing U.S. airlines – has launched a new public awareness campaign, “Fly Healthy. Fly Smart.”
Aimed at educating travelers ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the campaign includes multi-media outreach showcasing the enhanced cleaning and procedural changes U.S. airlines are implementing as well as reminding the traveling public of steps they can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The campaign includes an infographic, video, blog posts, social media engagement at the updated AirlinesTakeAction.com webpage.
Airlines Take Action
A4A’s member airlines are requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout the journey, check-in, boarding, in-flight and deplaning.
At check-in counters and gate areas, travelers may see agents sanitizing counters and kiosks.
Some airlines have installed plexi-glass shields over the counters to provide additional protection and some have marked the floors to ensure appropriate distance is maintained.
All A4A member airlines have aircraft equipped with HEPA filters, which help generate hospital-grade air quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) report that how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, “most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights.”
U.S. airlines have implemented intensive cleaning protocols, in some cases to include electrostatic cleaning and fogging procedures.
Carriers are sanitizing cockpits, cabins and key touch points such as tray tables, armrests, seat-belts, buttons, vents, handles and lavatories, with EPA-approved disinfectants. Airlines have also increased the frequency of deep cleaning procedures for both domestic and international flights.
Airlines have also implemented a range of policies including back-to-front boarding and adjusting food and beverage services, to help allow for social distancing.
As an additional layer of protection, A4A’s member airlines have encouraged the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to begin conducting temperature screenings.
Travelers are urged to stay home when ill, frequently wash their hands and to wear a face covering throughout their air travel journey, consistent with CDC guidance.
New Data Points
As stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions are lifted, communities are slowing reopening, and more people are choosing to travel by airplane. While some travelers may experience full or near-full flights, data from the most recent week of operations shows that the majority of U.S. airline flights (73%) are less than 50% full.
For added protection, airlines are attempting to leave some seats open for distancing between travelers when feasible, but not all circumstances allow for that.
Some airlines are working with passengers to make accommodations when possible, but notably only 8.5% of U.S. airline flights are more than 70% full.
Last year TSA recorded a record number of travelers, screening nearly 2.8 million people at airports on May 28, the Friday prior to Memorial Day. This year TSA is screening 91% fewer people. More than 50% of commercial aircraft in the U.S. are parked, and of the planes flying, airlines are averaging 31 passengers per domestic flight – an 83% percent decrease in capacity compared to last year.