Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
With the number of Coronavirus cases rising rapidly day after day, airlines are finding themselves in the crosshairs of public concern and passengers are shunning air travel in huge numbers. Despite reassurances from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the risk of infection on an airplane remains low, many passengers are taking a “better safe than sorry” approach.
Airlines have moved quickly to address customer concerns, ramping up onboard cabin cleaning efforts in what seems to be, thus far, a fruitless exercise to assuage fears. In the last few days, Delta Air Lines has been touting its new disinfectant fogging devices that are being used to clean many long-haul aircraft – yet forward bookings look as dire as ever.
Delta says it will continue its “rigorous” 19-point cleaning programme to gain customer trust but is also now asking for passengers to play their part in keeping air travel and themselves safe.
“While Delta has moved quickly to take steps to support a more healthy flying experience, there are many actions health officials recommend for travelers to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to stay healthy while flying,” the airline said on Monday.
Delta is now calling on its customers to follow five simple steps to make flying safer:
Wash your hands
It’s the number one piece of advice from both the World Health Organisation and CDC, as well as pretty much every health authority in the world. If the message hasn’t already got through… Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (Delta suggests singing “Happy Birthday” to get the right timing) especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
If you’ve not washed your hands then don’t touch your face and especially not your eyes, nose or mouth. If you really need to touch your face then just wash your hands first.
Follow good respiratory hygiene
What does that mean? Well, if you need to sneeze or cough then do so into a tissue and if that isn’t available into your bent elbow. Immediately dispose of the tissue and thoroughly wash your hands.
Stay home when you are sick
Firstly, the cabin air is largely safe from airborne viruses – the CDC claims that because of the way air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs don’t spread easily and Delta says aircraft fitted with special HEPA filters can remove over 99 per cent of viruses in the air.
But if you’re sick then there’s still a risk you could pass that illness onto someone else. And that’s something that Delta suggests is simply unacceptable. “If you’re sick, please stay home,” the airline says.
Download the airline app
Avoid touching public check-in kiosks or unnecessary interactions with airline and airport staff by using the airline’s official app to check-in and download your boarding pass.
Of course, should you need to check-in at the kiosk, just follow step one
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.