In the name of safety for both their employees and passengers, virtually all the airlines have made changes due to the threat of coronavirus. They all say they’re cleaning high touch areas of the planes between flights. They all have HEPA filters that filter out viruses. They’ve changed how they do food and beverage service. Some are keeping the middle seats open. Some have changed how they load and unload the plane.
But United just did something that, in my memory, none of the airlines have mentioned and I think it’s important.
They’re going to keep the ventilation systems on during the entire boarding and deplaning process.
Says Scott Kirty, CEO of United:
We know the environment on an aircraft is safe and because the air flow is designed to minimize the transmission of disease, the earlier we maximize air flow over our HEPA filtration system, the better for our crew and our customers.
In pre-COVID days, most airlines shut down the ventilation system when they weren’t flying; it saved on gasoline. Or if it wasn’t totally off, it was at least not on very much. Anyone who “sweated it out” in the summer while waiting for the plane to start moving could attest to that.
So now, besides being safer from COVID because the ventilation system will be on, passengers probably won’t be so uncomfortable while they’re waiting for their plane to take off in the summertime, either.
United identified this “new opportunity” to help prevent the 2019 Novel Coronavirus during boarding and deplaning during a review of its cleaning and safety procedures with its United CleanPlus partners, Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic.
Of course, having plane air filtered with HEPA filters helps decrease the amount of virus throughout the plane. However a great concern is also flying next to people who are breathing, talking and potentially releasing virus into the air. You can breathe that air in before it has a chance to get to the plane’s filtration system. United has promised that it’s taking steps to reduce the overall number of passengers on its planes, and currently has less than 15% of its flights operating with more than 70% capacity.
PC: Jun Seita/flickr
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary