M any carriers around the globe have been quick
protocols, eliminating middle-seat sales,
mandating face masks inflight and
encouraging social distancing in airports
and airplane cabins. However, assuring
shell-shocked passengers that it is safe to fly
again after they’ve been sheltering in place
for months could prove to be a tough sell.
manager for United Airlines.
expect it to grow over the next few months and years.
Using that time frame we are working to help people feel
comfortable travelling again, at their respective paces.
Our primary focus right now is ensuring that our
operation is safe and ready for customers who are eager
to get back out there once travel starts to rebound.”
United already uses state-of-the-art, hospital-grade
air filters on its planes (which remove up to 99.97%
of airborne particles) and thoroughly disinfects all
contact points and surfaces in the cabin before each
flight. Kutmus says that United is also rolling out plans
to electrostatically spray every aircraft before each
“The top priority of our airline is safety, and we are
thoroughly reviewing all measures that involve human
contact between our flight and ground crews with
passengers to ensure that everyone is safe throughout
their journeys,” adds Kutmus.
Southwest Airlines spokesperson, Michelle Agnew,
notes that Southwest is taking a similar approach.
Aside from providing regular online video updates
from Southwest CEO, Gary Kelly, at the height of the
lockdown, the carrier was also posting passenger-focused
clips on its YouTube channel, highlighting its heightened
safety and electrostatic cleaning protocols.
“ One of the biggest areas we
are focusing on is making
people feel comfortable
returning to the skies again”
Elliot Kutmus, acquisitions sales manager, United Airlines.
INDUSTR Y R E COV ERY
Plan B? PlanBay
DELTA: SAFETY IS
KEY TO CONFIDENCE
During the announcement of Delta’s Q1 2020
financial results, CEO Ed Bastian, gave some
interesting insights into how the airline is reacting
to the Covid-19 crisis.
“When you ask people what’s the most
important thing to get them to start travelling
again, it’s going to be confidence in their safety
– their personal safety, not just their physical
safety,” he stated, adding that the airline is
applying its inflight safety expertise and analytical
tools and working with the medical community
“to help translate the return of business to where
people feel safe.”
He considers immunity passports as a way
forward, possibly with a new public agency
working alongside the TSA and Homeland Security.
“I do believe people will value not just the flight
experience, but who’s providing the experience,
and the reliability and the service excellence of
that. And that’s our calling card, that’s our brand,
that’s what Delta stands for,” he stated.
“I think demand will be there when it’s safe
to travel. Once people feel confident that they,
through both the medical progress we make
through the medical community, and through
government leadership when people indicate
that it’s safe to travel, that’s when the recovery
will take shape,” Bastion added. “This is very
unlike anything we’ve ever encountered. We’ve
encountered a lot of crises in our industry. This
one, where people physically do not feel safe to
venture out of their homes, is unique to us, and
we have got to inspire the confidence they need
to start travelling again.”
to respond to the ever-evolving Covid-19
situation by embracing a host of innovative
solutions, including electrostatic disinfection
“One of the biggest areas we are focusing on
is making people feel comfortable returning to the
skies again,” says Elliot Kutmus, acquisitions sales
“We understand that demand will not immediately
return to levels we saw throughout 2019, but rather
Florian Barjot, a Toulouse-based
aviation designer, is currently
gauging airline and operator
interest in his concept for a kit
designed to physically separate
passengers. Named PlanBay,
the removable kit comprises
plexiglass or polycarbonate
sheets fitted between economy
class seats and across the top
of the headrests to help channel
airflow from the gaspers, with
the clear panels giving crew
a direct view of passengers.
JUNE 2020 023