Major domestic airlines are adjusting to a “new normal,” one that will require masks and frequent sanitization.
With changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic comes some degree of normalcy on board flights. For instance on Tuesday, Delta announced that alcohol service on board domestic flights greater than 500 miles will be restored on Thursday.
Also,, United Airlines and American Airlines will both be unblocking middle seats, allowing for the possibility for full flights. Delta says it will continue to block middle seats through the end of September. Southwest is also keep the middle seat on flights blocked through at least September.
American Airlines said last week that its air filtration system allows for those on board flights to breathe without fear of infection.
“Over the past several years, American has been further improving our HEPA filters by adding a layer of activated carbon to our filters to provide additional removal of fumes, odors and volatile organic compounds,” said Ben Thiesse, American’s Senior Engineer for the Airbus A320 Family. “Today, these carbon HEPA filters are installed on all of American’s A320 and 787 aircraft.”
United Airlines says, like other airlines, it is relying upon travelers to wear face masks to keep other travelers safe.
"Every reputable heath institution says wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to protect others from contracting COVID-19, especially in places like an aircraft where social distancing is a challenge," said United's Chief Customer Officer, Toby Enqvist. "We have been requiring our customers to wear masks onboard United aircraft since May 4 and we have been pleased that the overwhelming majority of passengers readily comply with our policy.”
While Delta will continue to block middle seats, allowing customers to consume alcoholic beverages is one way the airline is returning to normal.
““In keeping with the Delta CareStandard, our goal is to serve all of our food and beverage offerings in the safest way possible – both for our customers and employees,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President of In-Flight Service. “We take pride in always listening to our customers, and we know beer and wine are the adult beverages our customers want most. These selections are the first step towards a normalized beverage offering while we continue to keep customer and crew safety at the center of everything we do.”