American Airlines personnel shared their “Clean Commitment” promise with a group of local travel professionals recently at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. It was hosted by Ronnie Barnes, the Station Manager for American Airlines at St. Louis, along with Kerry James and Karla Blair from American; and Roger Lotz, the Public Information Officer for the Airport.
The Airport’s cleaning program has been enhanced and increased; and American has also hired janitorial crew to clean the check-in and gate areas. The American contract workers clean all of the high-touch-point areas three times daily, and American has set up specific cleaning requirements for each area. American personnel follow up with spot checks of the work at least twice daily throughout the airport and on planes to be sure the cleaning is being completed properly. Interesting note: all of the plexiglass shields at the ticket counters were made locally by AA employees in the machine shop at the airport!
American uses Clorox 360 fogging machines in the gate areas and on the planes. The spray kills bacteria and viruses and adheres to hard surfaces to keep killing germs and viruses for up to 7 days. Each plane is fogged every 7 days. The cleaning crew wipes down the seats, arm rests, and tray tables, and leaves the tables down. Then the entire cabin is sprayed, and tray tables are closed up once the spray dries. This process takes about 30 minutes per plane, and is usually done overnight.
Between each flight, the cleaning crews wipe down all high-touch areas on the plane. Previously, American’s cleaners were allowed 5 minutes and 3 people to clean an entire plane between flights. Now they have 6 people and 15 minutes scheduled to clean each plane. There are spot-checks daily by American station personnel to be sure the contracted janitors are cleaning the planes properly. And, American’s top management has put out a directive that it is more important for a plane to be cleaned properly than it is to depart on time, which is a huge departure from past policies.
If it is determined through contact tracing that a passenger with Covid-19 has been on a flight, the plane is taken out of service until they can complete a full, deep cleaning and disinfecting of the plane.
Passengers must complete at symptoms checklist when they check in for the flight, either on-line or at the airport. American has touchless check-in options available for clients using bar codes on their smart phones, so they don’t have to touch the kiosks at the airport, or use a printed boarding pass. Masks are required for everyone in the airport – passengers and staff – the entire time in the airport and on the flights. Another interesting note: passengers going through the St. Louis Airport are very compliant about wearing masks. Our Airport has one of the best records for passengers wearing masks; and our TSA agents have had the fewest cases of the Virus. In fact, several of our agents have been transferred to other airports to fill in for ill TSA agents at other airports!
The Airport, TSA, and individual airlines all have their own cleaning regimens, and they overlap. Masks are available for passengers who don’t have their own: at the Airport Information Desk in the Baggage Claim Area, and at the airlines’ check-in desks.
The TSA Agents wear gloves, which are changed frequently. They can scan driver licenses and passports without touching them. TSA is now allowing passengers to carry hand sanitizer in containers of up to 12 ounces in addition to the other liquids and gels in 3-ounce containers or smaller. The hand sanitizer must be 70% or less alcohol.
The American Admirals Club Lounge is currently closed, but the help desk is staffed daily between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to assist members with flight changes and questions.