As you can imagine, airports around the world have been hugely affected by COVID-19. This has caused them to implement new procedures and policies to help protect employees and travellers. Most airline websites try to keep updated regarding the way they are handling this ever-evolving situation.
Some of the very useful methods they are putting in place are increased cleaning of all surfaces including handrails, seating, restrooms, elevators and even people movers. Often a nightly clean is done of entire terminals. The installation of hand sanitizing stations is common and guidelines regarding the importance of social distances and safety are in easy to see places. These are unprecedented times and everyone is doing their bit to help keep everyone safe. There is no doubt that each person is finding they are being more attentive to hygiene with washing hands more frequently and even wiping down groceries when we bring them home. The airline industry is no different and has taken steps to sanitize their fleets to help protect passengers and staff. Before COVID-19 aircraft would undergo a scheduled clean between flights and if there was additional time then a more professional clean would focus on wiping down and cleaning seat back trays, disinfecting toilets and cleaning galleys. This process could take over an hour. Airlines also made sure each aircraft was scheduled for a 4 to 6 week deep interior clean. This would take several hours and be extremely thorough.
Things have changed since the coronavirus outbreak. Airlines now disinfect all hard surfaces writhing the cabin as well as the seats and lavatory and even cleaning the carpet. Some airlines are also circulating air in the cabin to be replaced completely every three to five minutes.
It is now encouraged by airlines for passengers to bring their own additional cleaning products. Passengers may feel more at ease using their own disinfecting wipes at their seats. Airlines are also providing gloves, masks and liquid hand sanitizer to the crew.
Good social distancing is being practised and this is made easy for passengers to see on the airline app as to where their seat is allocated and what other seats on the flight are occupied. This gives passengers the opportunity to move seats if they feel they need to. Flight attendants will also help with this on board if a passenger wants to move within their cabin class. Passengers are being assigned window and aisle seats keeping the middle seat free to help practice social distancing.
A lot of airlines have also eliminated or reduced the drink and hot towel and food services usually offered. Passengers on longer flight will be served packaged meals. It is now encouraged that you bring your own snacks – if you are concerned about the suitability of your snack you can ask a crew member when you check-in.
Many airports have also closed their lounges to help prevent the spread of the virus. Restaurants and bars are mostly closed as well. You would need to check with the airport directly to see what is still open. You will find that airports are more empty and only a limited selection of stores are open. You may find that snacks and reading materials are available at newsstands. Sanitation’s stations are around terminals. We can all do our part to help and flatten the curve, by washing our hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and of course staying home if we feel unwell.