Afraid to fly? Exclusive look behind United Airlines' COVID-19 safety features

BySamantha Chatman WLS logo
Thursday, June 25, 2020
United Airlines takes strong measures for safe air travel during COVID-19
ABC7's Samantha Chatman got an exclusive look at the cleaning procedures and new technology United AIrlines is employing to keep air travelers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHICAGO -- Normally at this time of the year, a lot of people would be going on vacations, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed that.

Some wonder if it is too soon to travel and if the plane will be clean.

United Airlines said they want to give travelers as much of a "touchless" experience as they can.

We're doing quite a bit right now to ensure the comfort level and safety of our customers," said Mike Hanna, vice president of United Airlines' O'Hare hub.

United has kiosks in the lobby where travelers can use their phones to print boarding passes so they don't have to touch the screen. At the gates, many airlines are having customers scan their own boarding passes to limit interactions with employees.

The airline said they are also cleaning seats in the hold rooms with a high grade disinfecting product. United is also using a medical grade filtration system to remove germs from the aircraft every two to three minutes.

Among some of the greatest concerns is boarding and sitting on the plane for hours. Other airlines including United are having customers board from back to front to reduce people passing one another onboard.

"Cleaning crews are trained to clean and wipe down every one of those touch points," Hanna said. "It's absolutely critical for us to secure the safety of our customers and we are using a high grade disinfectant solution in order to clean those areas."

For all airlines, everyone is required to wear a mask while onboard the aircraft.

"For customers who we find that it's become an issue onboard the airplane, then we'll review that through our corporate security organization and they may or may not be able to fly United again," Hanna said.

The airline said safety is their number one priority, but they also want to keep people comfortable as well.