A month ago Delta promised a new standard of clean which would begin right away and grow to include all of their domestic flights by May.
Now American Airlines has announced enhanced cleaning procedures for domestic flights that “will begin this week and will expand to every mainline and regional flight over time.” (Emphasis mine.) Disinfecting will include:
- “tray tables, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window shades and seatback screens. It also includes wiping door and overhead bin handles.”
- along with “enhanced galley cleaning, jumpseats and crew rest seats [and]…add cockpit surfaces as well.”
Starting May 1 flight attendants will be required to wear masks. This follows United Airlines requiring the same thing. It’s a huge departure for the airline which five weeks ago was still disciplining flight attendants for wearing masks. Every mainline flight will have a galley drawer with masks for crew and sanitizing items.
Also early in May American will “start the process” to provide sanitizing wipes (or gels) to passengers, along with face masks. This is subject to availability “and operational conditions.” There’s no question sourcing has been a challenge. Early in the crisis Delta had a quarter million masks stolen off of a truck. And even non-medical grade masks have been back-ordered.
While enhanced cleaning extends not just to mainline but the regional fleet as well, American Airlines President Robert Isom told employees in March that their small regional jets “don’t have high particulate air filtration.”
These are important changes, and I applaud American for making them. They’re behind by a month, behind Delta by a month, but unfortunately ahead of several of their competitors.
Now American needs to reverse its decision to end its home-based reservations program and require that all reservations agents work from a call center, in light of a CDC study of South Korea on how the virus spreads in call centers.
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) April 24, 2020
I asked American about their decision not to continue to employee home-based reservations agents, and they did not respond.