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American Airlines stops handing out sanitizing wipes, cites supply chain

Jan. 19, 2022
3 min read
American Airlines stops handing out sanitizing wipes, cites supply chain
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A pandemic-era staple of the onboard flight experience is suffering from supply chain issues.

Because of limited stock, American Airlines is no longer proactively handing out sanitizing wipes to customers as they board the aircraft. These wipes are now available by request only, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.

At the outset of the pandemic, all the major airlines were quick to market new cleaning campaigns, which included a focus on HEPA filters, mask requirements and enhanced sanitization measures between flights and during overnight downtime.

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For the Big 3 U.S. airlines, these programs — dubbed the American Clean Commitment, Delta CareStandard and United CleanPlus — included a sanitizing wipe for customers to use when they got to their seats.

Of course, as we've learned more about how the coronavirus is transmitted, much of the focus has turned to mask mandates and hospital-grade filtration to minimize the spread of this airborne virus.

(Photo courtesy of American Airlines)

Nevertheless, the airlines continued handing out these sanitizing wipes, perhaps as a way for passengers to put a physical touch on the cleaning experience.

Yet now, American is pulling back on these wipes due to supply chain issues. In a statement shared with TPG, American implied that it'll bring back the wipes once the shortages ease up.

Global supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic are impacting industries everywhere, including American Airlines. We are experiencing product shortages of sanitizer wipes, which we will now offer by request, rather than provide to every customer during boarding. Our Clean Commitment procedures such as enhanced cleaning onboard, HEPA filters, and the federal mask requirements remain in place. We hope the supply chain slowdown improves and are thankful for our understanding customers throughout this time.

Sanitizing wipes aren't the only things in short supply on planes these days. In recent months, we've seen carriers suffer from shortages regarding onboard catering. In some cases, American flights from its mega-hub in Dallas/Fort Worth were departing without ice. Others were missing food entirely.

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Turns out, the Fort Worth-based carrier isn't alone in scaling back its cleaning and health procedures recently.

(Photo courtesy of American Airlines)

Last summer, United Airlines scrapped its social distancing mandate during deplaning, which previously required passengers to exit the aircraft in groups of five rows at a time. The airline also stopped electrostatically spraying its jets before every flight, and instead started applying a once-weekly Zoono antimicrobial surface treatment throughout its fleet.

Either way — whether it's backed in science or due to product shortages — the pandemic-era flight experience is looking a bit more like "normal."

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

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  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.