Over the summer I explained why cleaners board American Airlines aircraft while passengers are trying to get off. It’s annoying for passengers getting off the aircraft, but the airline wants to clean planes as quickly as possible. Time spent on the ground is time spent not making money. They often schedule flights tightly together and don’t want to risk a delay.
I find that cleaners getting on the plane while passengers are trying to get off just blocks passengers getting off and as a result their getting on too early may not save time.
Since I wrote about the bottleneck deplaning due to aircraft cleaning, American rolled out a policy that focuses even more heavily on ‘D0’ and sacrifices cleaning. Here’s a notice from Dallas Fort-Worth:
Cleaning crew are supposed to get on the aircraft as soon as they can while the inbound aircraft is deplaning. As soon as the last passenger is off the plane, the next flight should start boarding. They shouldn’t wait for cleaners to finish and once boarding begins cleaners should stop what they’re doing.
Because all that matters at American is pushing back exactly on time, customers are forced to gate check bags even when bin space is available, upgrades don’t get processed, and flights go out uncatered. The airline’s CEO stays that’s what customers want. Now we can add to this list: planes don’t get fully cleaned, either.
Depart With Seats Looking Like This? No Problem!
Cleaning crews are only allowed to keep cleaning if they first contact the Control Center who then tells the gate not to board. The people you see cleaning planes aren’t going to dare to do that often.
Of course about a month ago we learned that American’s anti-trust immunized joint venture partner British Airways was testing some routes where they wouldn’t clean planes between flights at all.
Airlines need to clean more and more frequently. US airlines have gone between deep cleans monthly to as long as every 18 months.