By Bev Fearis, published 22/07/20
United Airlines is making changes to the way it manages air flow on aircraft from Monday July 27, claiming it will make the air onboard significantly cleaner than people typically experience in restaurants, shops, schools and even some hospitals.
Air flow volume will be turned up to maximum levels not only during the flight but also during the entire boarding and disembarkation process.
United claims that, in combination with HEPA filters, the air conditioning and pressurisation system onboard recirculates the air every two to three minutes and removes 99.97% of particles, including viruses and bacteria during both ground and air operations. It says this will help further reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“We know the environment on an aircraft is safe and because the air flow is designed to minimise the transmission of disease, the earlier we maximise air flow over our HEPA filtration system, the better for our crew and our customers,” said Scott Kirby, United’s Chief Executive Officer.
“The quality of the air, combined with a strict mask policy and regularly disinfected surfaces, are the building blocks towards preventing the spread of Covid-19 on an airplane. We expect that air travel is not likely to get back to normal until we’re closer to a widely administered vaccine – so we’re in this for the long haul. And I am going to keep encouraging our team to explore and implement new ideas, new technologies, new policies and new procedures that better protect our customers and employees.”
Meanwhile, United has introduced touchless check-in at London Heathrow Airport, allowing customers to check in without touching the check-in kiosk, even if they are checking luggage.
“Safety is of the utmost importance at United and we are proud to be the first airline to introduce touchless check-in technology at London Heathrow Airport,” said United Director of Operations UK Arvind Garcha.
“We continue to deliver industry-leading cleanliness to ensure our customers and employees feel safe on our aircraft and remain dedicated to delivering the United CleanPlus commitment.”
United has also introduced electrostatic spraying on all aircraft before departure from Heathrow to enhance the cleaning of all surfaces in the cabins, including overhead bins, seats, tray tables, screens, window shades and air vents.
It is currently offering daily flights from Heathrow to its hubs at New York Newark, Chicago and Washington Dulles and to San Francisco from August 5.