Airlines vary safety protocols in protecting against COVID-19

Rhode Island´s WPRI has reported a TF Green Airport spokesperson has announced airlines are creating their own rules around COVID-19, the news source said.

Medical Director for the Department of Epidemiology and Infection Control at Rhode Island Hospital said when it comes to flying, spacing is the most important thing, so passengers are advised to pick an airline based on the distance between passengers.

Butler Hospital says the air quality in the plane is good with frequent changes of the air filter, but air travel poses several problems. Air travel should only happen when absolutely necessary. COVID risk is greatest in closed, crowded spaces with poor air exchange, and filled with people who don´t wear masks or distance themselves,” he said.

WPRI reports cleaning procedures of airlines that are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Frontier Airlines has stopped selling 20 middle seats on airplanes, and is requiring both customers and staff to wear face coverings.

Southwest Airlines is keeping its middle seat open until at least October 31 to create more distance between passengers. Staff is cleaning ticket counters, baggage claim areas, and gates multiple times a day. They are also providing enhanced overnight cleaning on planes. Southwest is requiring passengers wear face coverings unless, they have an exemption.

Delta Airlines is requiring customers to wear face coverings, with the exception of children. Delta is limiting cabin space, which is different per each flight. On most flights they´re allowing customers to create more space around them by automatically blocking seats.

United Airlines said the airline is taking extra cleaning steps at the gate by disinfecting high touch surfaces, enabling passengers to self-scan their boarding passes, and providing hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. On board each plane the company is using electrostatic spraying to disinfect most aircraft before flights, reducing crowding by deplaning in groups of five rows at a time, and cleaning high touch surface areas with disinfectants. The company is also requiring passengers and staff to wear a face covering and will potentially take away travel privileges for customers who won´t comply.

American Airlines said it is taking extra cleaning steps to help keep its customers safe. Cleaning protocols include disinfecting high touch areas like seat belt buckles, air vents, armrests, and overhead bins. On average a crew of five to six people will spend about 20 minutes deep cleaning prior to each flight. The company is requiring passengers over the age of two to wear a face covering, with the exception of drinking or eating. The company´s entire mainline fleet, including most regional jets, have a HEPA filtration system.