Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
Airlines are going out of their way to prove their planes are safe as passengers shun flying over fears they could catch the COVID-19 novel Coronavirus. As the number of cases worldwide tipped 100,000, Delta Air Lines has taken the war on fighting Coronavirus to the next level, employing industrial fogging machines to help disinfect planes arriving from the hardest-hit regions.
“Delta has doubled down on its regular cleaning program while adding a fogging process,” the airline says, explaining that the fogging process will help disinfect aircraft interiors on all trans-oceanic aircraft.
After a first-round of hand cleaning, fogging will then take place with tray tables lowered, overhead lockers lowered and lavatory doors open. Finally, seatback screens will then get an extra clean using disinfectant wipes.
The airline says cleaning crews are required to undertake a “rigorous” 19-point checklist on all trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic flights. Among the areas to be disinfected are seats, seatback pockets, tray tables and floors. A high-grade, EPA-registered disinfectant is also being used on galley surfaces and in lavatories.
Delta also says the vast majority of its aircraft fleet are fitted with industrial-grade HEPA filters – capable of filtering more than 99.999% of even the tiniest viruses. According to a Delta spokesperson, Coronaviruses range from 0.08 to 0.16 micrometers in size but the HEPA filters can trap viruses as small as 0.01 micrometers.
Along with a number of other airlines, Delta is also adjusting its usual service and cleaning processes in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Tableware, cutlery and glassware, for example, is being disinfected before it even gets put into the washing machine.
Elsewhere, recycling has been temporarily put on hold and any unused supplies are being discarded rather than sorted and saved for future flights. Extra supplies of hand sanitizer, gloves and surgical masks are being loaded on flights – especially on flights in and out of Asia.
American Airlines says it too is throwing unused supplies away rather than reusing anything that might potentially be contaminated. The Dallas Fort Worth-based airline is separating trolleys and canisters and sanitizing them separately before they reenter the catering system, while self-serve snacks have been removed over contamination concerns.
Like Delta, crew members at American are being provided with hand sanitizer but the airline admits its struggled to source enough supplies and is “working to expand this measure to all flights in the near future”.
Other airlines have taken to social media to show off their enhanced aircraft cleaning processes, with the likes of Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways all uploading videos in recent days showing cleaning crews giving their aircraft cabins a deep clean between flights.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.