United Airlines refrains to ensure in-flight social distancing

Published on : Tuesday, May 12, 2020

United Airlines has recently announced that that airline might not be able to ensure complete in-flight social distancing by leaving the middle seat of its fleet empty for its forthcoming schedules. The aviation industry has been harshly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and has been making various adjustments to handle the critical situation. United Airlines has introduced a series of hygiene measures throughout its operations over the past few weeks. However, it is currently failing to guarantee social distancing practices on its flights.


According to local reports, few United Airlines flights were packed with travelers throughout the cabin over the weekend. Some passengers even took to social media and shared the update, making people wonder if the airline has relaxed its social distancing policies. The carrier addressed the situation and mentioned that the Boeing 737 aircraft carried an additional 25 medical professionals. The company informed that they were flying free of costs after providing voluntary services in New York.


The airline also said that it has provided complimentary flights for more than 1,000 doctors and nurses in the past few weeks. It informed that all passengers and employees have been asked to wear face coverings, with regard to the airline’s new safety policy. However, it further added that at the moment the carrier cannot guarantee that all customers will be seated next to an unoccupied seat, based on historically low travel demand and the implementation of various social distancing measures.


But the airline also mentioned that it has decided to limit seat selections in all cabins. Presently, the customers would not be able to select seats next to each other or middle seats where available. It also stated that even if customers fail to select such seats, the carrier can place a passenger into them. Irrespective of United’s attempt to maintain seat blocking procedures, the airline has undertaken various other initiatives to maintain the safety of the passengers and employees. It is now producing its own hand sanitizer and providing free face masks.


In addition, the carrier has also started enhanced cabin sanitization programs like electrostatic spraying. The equipment has been integrated into cleaning procedures on all inbound long-haul international flights, and mainline overnight aircraft at the operator’s US hubs. The carrier has also removed all in-flight items for the moment and minimised touchpoints by changing current food processes. It has also resorted to state-of-the-art circulation systems that remove up to 99.7% of airborne particles.


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