United’s ‘CleanPlus’ initiative includes enhanced cleaning, pre-packaged food and more

May 20, 2020

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Throughout this month, airlines have developed and evolved various measures to minimize the coronavirus risk for passengers and staff, from blocking the sale of middle seats — in Delta’s case — to contacting passengers and offering free changes ahead of full flights — in United’s.

United Airlines still doesn’t have plans to limit the sale of seats onboard its flights, though the airline announced a number of other new policies and procedures on Wednesday morning that are part of an effort to improve safety without taking a significant financial hit.

Since this latest roll-out has so many components, I’ll let United walk you through it. According to the airline, here’s what United’s doing to improve health and safety throughout your journey, in partnership with experts from Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic:

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In Airport Lobbies:

  • Reducing touchpoints by temporarily shutting down self-service kiosks and beginning to roll out touchless kiosks that allow customers to print bag tags using their own device to scan a QR code.
  • Actively promoting social distancing with enhanced signage, including a 6-foot rule at the ticket counters that allow for minimal contact between agents and customers.
  • Deploying sneeze guards at key interaction points, including at our check-in counters.

At the Gate:

  • Boarding fewer customers at a time to allow for more distance during the boarding process, minimizing crowding at the gate and jet bridge.
  • Asking our customers to self-scan their boarding passes at our gate readers.
  • Equipping our employees with disinfecting products available so they can disinfect high-touch areas including armrests and handrails.

More: With 95% of flyers grounded, what it’s like flying in the U.S. right now?

In the United Clubs:

  • Protective sneeze guards installed at credentialing desks and customer services to minimize contact between travelers and employees
  • Requiring employees to use personal protective equipment
  • Increased frequency of cleaning for high-touch surfaces and equipping employees with disinfectant-cleaning products
  • Removed seating at the bar area to actively promote physical distancing
  • Pre-packaged food and beverages are only available at the bar area to reduce customer touch points

More: United can now deny boarding if there’s ‘reason to believe’ you were exposed to the coronavirus

Onboard Aircraft:

  • Beginning May 22, United will introduce an “all in one” economy snack bag that replaces the economy beverage and complimentary snack choice service on domestic flights scheduled for 2 hours, 20 minutes or more. This bag will include a wrapped sanitizer wipe, an 8.5-ounce bottled water, a Stroopwafel and a package of pretzels.
  • Enhanced cabin sanitization that includes electrostatic spraying, which will happen before every flight starting this June.
  • Requiring all employees and customers on board to wear a mask or face covering, helping protect each other.
  • Supplying individually wrapped hand sanitizer wipes to customers as they board.
  • Limiting advance seat selections so customers won’t be able to choose seats next to each other and allowing customers to take alternative flights when United expects a flight to operate over 70% capacity.

More: From cleaning robots to plastic barriers, what to expect the next time you’re at the airport

Behind the Scenes:

  • Implementing employee temperature checks before the start of their workdays, a move United says will help safeguard their health as well as that of their teammates and customers.
  • Employees are producing hand sanitizer that is being used throughout the airline.

While I’ve highlighted the latest additions in bolded text above, it can be a bit difficult to navigate constantly evolving U.S. airline policies — head over to our detailed guide for an up-to-date look at what to expect across the board.

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