PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Amid a spike in new coronavirus cases in the U.S., American Airlines gave a behind-the-scenes look at its cleaning procedures at Phoenix Sky Harbor ahead of the holiday travel season.
Starting at check-in, American Airlines says they’ve been working to limit the number of touchpoints, and they’ve increased the space between check-in kiosks for social distancing.
“Looks like it’s taking a little longer, but it actually isn’t,” said Ken Fischer, American Airlines director of Customer Care, as he motioned to a line building behind the kiosks.
When you go through security, TSA says they’ve increased cleanings of bins and x-ray machines and have installed plexiglass barriers. At the gates, the cleaning continues, and employees are performing electrostatic sanitizations in the jet bridge. Electrostatic sanitizers shoot out positively charged disinfectant from a nozzle which sticks to non-porous surfaces.
After every flight, cleaning crews wipe down highly-touched surfaces inside of the aircraft with sanitizing spray.
“Our cleaning process is very methodical,” said Tammy Harrington, the director of Jetstream Ground Services, which is in charge of cleaning American Airlines’ planes at Sky Harbor.
Once a day, the airplane gets a electrostatic sanitization, and HEPA filters in the cabin work to remove particles that might contain the coronavirus.
“About every three to five minutes that whole air exchanged in the airplane is circulated out and there’s new and fresh recirculated air,” said American Airlines maintenance manager Mark Ford.
Though you still need to wear your mask on board. Otherwise, you could end up on American’s no-fly list.
“Most people are complying and wearing their mask throughout the entire flight. But we do get reports and we do have people that have been added to that list for non-compliance,” said American Airlines flight service manager Chris Hoogstad.
On Wednesday, Delta gave members of the media a behind-the scenes look at how they’re cleaning airplanes and protecting customers from COVID-19.
American Airlines says that they’ve seen the types of travelers change over the course of the pandemic. There’s been a big drop-off in lucrative business travelers, and mostly they’re now only seeing people traveling for pleasure. American is hoping this holiday travel season will provide a much needed shot in the arm for the struggling airline industry.
Still, the toughest task for American and other carriers might be convincing the public that flying is safe as coronavirus cases rise.
“I fly myself along with a family,” Fischer said. “So what we hope is that people come on out.”
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