American Airlines will require all customers over the age of 2 to wear face coverings at airports and on board, strengthening the airline’s commitment to keep customers and team members safe. This requirement will become effective on July 29, 2020. Due to safety risk of asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission by individuals without face coverings, all customers must wear a face covering from the time they enter their departure airport and not remove it until they exit their arrival airport. This updated policy expands American’s face covering requirement to include all areas of the airports at which American operates, including Admirals Club lounges, as well as on board all American flights and does not allow for exemptions for those over 2 years old.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one of the best ways we can slow the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a face covering,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer of American Airlines. “Customers and team members have been clear that they feel more safe when everyone is wearing a face covering. In light of this important feedback, we are expanding and enhancing our requirements onboard and at airports.”
The only time face coverings may be removed at the airport or on board is when the customer is eating or drinking. Those unwilling to comply with this face covering requirement at any time during their journey with American may be barred from future travel for the duration of this face covering requirement.
American’s more stringent face covering policy is a part of the airline’s Clean Commitment to provide customers peace of mind while traveling. This Commitment includes partnerships with leading health and safety institutions to support American’s efforts by providing guidance on health matters and cleaning procedures. The airline has implemented multiple layers of protection for customers that include clean airports and airplanes and looking out for the health of team members.
During the check-in process, customers are asked questions to certify that they have been free of coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms for the past 14 days. At the airport, American has created a new touchless check-in experience for customers, allowing them to proceed to the gate without touching the kiosk screen, even if they are checking a bag. The airline also expanded the use of plexiglass barriers and the frequency of cleaning in airport areas under its control, including gate areas, ticket counters, passenger service counters, baggage service offices and team member rooms.
Customers on many flights receive sanitizing wipes or gel, and American has limited food and beverage delivery to reduce interactions between flight attendants and customers. Every aircraft is disinfected, including hand-cleaning seat buckles, seats, tray table and other surfaces. American also applies an electrostatic spray inside the aircraft every seven days, which kills 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria within 10 minutes and lasts for 14 days. All mainline aircraft and the majority of regional jets use HEPA filters. On all of American’s aircraft, the air in our cabins is refreshed every two to four minutes which is similar to hospital standards.
The airline continues to work with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for GBAC STAR accreditation for its fleet of aircraft and customer lounges. American is the first airline to seek GBAC STAR accreditation and expects to receive the designation by the end of 2020.