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How Airlines Are Adjusting To Coronavirus Safety Measures

Last updated: January 12,2023
Originally Published: July 09,2020
by Jestan Mendame

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What are the top airline companies specifically doing and what are their respective air travel safety measures?

The pandemic is far from over as countries from all over the world are logging in new cases every day. Given the situation, the travel industry has taken a huge blow and it’s really hard to imagine how a lot of businesses are adjusting.

For example, restaurants are only operating at 50% capacity, non-essential stores are closing, and credit card issuers are updating their travel credit cards.

Now, airlines are also adjusting to the new normal and you can see it because of the expensive airfares, limited flights, stricter flight rules for passengers, and fewer airline amenities. These are some of the prime examples showing that the industry is entering the “new normal.”

Traveler during the Covid 19 pandemic how airlines are adjusting to coronavirus

But what are the top airline companies specifically doing and what are their respective air travel safety measures? Let’s find out.

Read More: Handling Coronavirus Flight Cancelations


How is JetBlue airlines adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic? Well, it’s actually one of the first U.S. airlines to adopt new air travel safety measures by requiring all employees and passengers to wear face masks.

The company even reduced its flight capacity by limiting the number of seats it sells to customers. These changes were implemented to adhere to the CDC’s coronavirus preventive guidelines.

With regards to boarding and check-in protocols, passengers are encouraged to use touchless check-in by using the JetBlue app. A back-to-front boarding process has also been implemented to minimize physical contact among passengers.

Air Travel Safety Measures

Changes to on-board services were also implemented and here are the details according to JetBlue.:

  • Inflight crewmembers are required to wear medical-grade gloves whenever they offer services.
  • Alcoholic drinks, EatUp Boxes, EatUp Café, blankets, pillows, and earbuds will be temporarily unavailable.
  • The Pantry will also be temporarily suspended on flights that have it.
  • Foodservice will be limited and drinks will only be served on single-use cups.

Read More: JetBlue Coronavirus Flight Cancelations And Schedule Changes


Frontier has also adapted new air travel safety measures to fight the coronavirus. Employees and passengers are required to wear masks throughout the entire journey including boarding areas and gates.

Back in May 2020, the airline started to block off the middle seats in every row of their planes to adhere to social distancing guidelines. They even used the back-to-front boarding policy but it’s only temporary and will depend on how the coronavirus situation will turnout.

Air Travel Safety Measures

Frontier also implemented a new health protocol on how to check passengers on a flight for Covid-19 symptoms. All passengers must accept a health acknowledgment before checking-in. Here’s the new policy according to their website.

  • Neither they nor anyone in their household has exhibited COVID19-related symptoms in the last 14 days.
  • They will check their temperature before heading to the airport and not travel if they have a fever.
  • They will wash their hands/sanitize before boarding the flight.

The company has increased its sanitation efforts by using a new fogging and wiping disinfectant that’s certified to kill most viruses, including the coronavirus.

Flight Cancelation Policies

From June 25th to July 31st, all passengers flying to Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, and Texas will be put under a 14-day mandatory quarantine either at a hotel or your home. 

Due to these new travel policies, Frontier will give passengers a one-time flight change at no additional cost for all flights booked between June 26, 2020 – July 31, 2020.

Read More: Frontier Coronavirus Flight Change And Cancelation

United Airlines

United started a sanitation program called the United CleanPlus. This new initiative aims to stop or limit the spread of the virus during check-in, boarding, and flights.

Passengers will receive sanitary wipes, food and beverages will be pre-packed or sealed, and only single-use cups will be used during flights. Wearing a personal face mask is highly-encouraged too unless you’re eating or drinking.

During check-in, all passengers must also provide an acknowledgement that they don’t have coronavirus symptoms. Plus, they must adhere to the United’s air travel safety measures if they are to board the flight.

Air Travel Safety Measures

With regards to United’s disinfecting procedures, here’s how it works:

  • A thorough wipe down of all touchpoints using a high-grade disinfectant that’s effective against the coronavirus.
  • The airline will also use electrostatic sprayers to disinfect bigger planes (twin-aisle aircraft) coming from international destinations.

United is also practicing social distancing that’s why flights through July will be at 30% capacity compared to 2019. However, it’s possible that it will slowly add more flights in mid-summer.

Flight Cancelation Policies

United will not charge re-booking fees for flights booked from April 1 through June 30. However, you must travel within one year of your original booking date.

If you booked your flight before March 31, you can get a voucher that is valid within one year of your original booking date.

Read More: Flying On United First & Business Class Flight During Coronavirus (Orlando To Mexico City)

Spirit Airlines

To implement social distancing, Spirit has also reduced its flight capacity and has blocked off all middle seats on all domestic flights.

Employees and passengers are required to wear face masks but passengers must bring their own masks. However, young children are exempted to wear masks due to safety risks.

Air Travel Safety Measures

With regards to sanitation, here’s a look at Spirit airlines adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Aircraft fogging has been implemented to supplement standard cleaning procedures
  • High-frequency touchpoints like handles, lavatories, and tables will be prioritized during sanitation.
  • Enhanced disinfection between flights
  • More cleaning and sanitary supplies for the cabin crew
  • Use of electrostatic sprayer at Spirit facilities

Spirit highly encourages its customers to go touchless to help minimize physical contact. In fact, it has kiosks at various airports in the U.S where you can tag and drop your own bags.

American Airlines

American Airlines is providing its crew members hand sanitizers and sanitary wipes on its departure hubs. The airline also requires its employees and passengers to require facemasks in all flights.

However, there are exceptions such as very young children and people who were advised by their doctors to not wear masks because of medical reasons.

With regards to foodservice and in-flight purchases, the airline will temporarily stop using glassware and start serving individually pre-packed food.

Meanwhile, Airport lounge service just resumed this June 22 but only pre-packed snacks and a full-service bar are available for customers. Buffets will also be discontinued temporarily to minimize physical contact.

American Airlines have limited its flight capacity by blocking off 50% of its middle seats since April. However, the airline just started selling middle seats again this July 1 according to reports.

Air Travel Safety Measures

American Airlines has mentioned in a press release that it will follow CDC cleaning guidelines. Here’s a quick look at how they do it:

  • All international flights and grounded aircraft will get a thorough 30-point cleaning package daily. All AA aircraft also get deep cleaned on a regular basis.
  • Grounded aircraft that stay overnight, especially international flights, will get detailed sanitation of its hard surfaces such as armrest and tray tables.
  • More fogging treatments during overnight cleanings for a detailed disinfecting of all public areas such as seats, windows, lavatories, carpets, overhead bins, and etc.

Flight Cancelation Policy

There are no change fees for flights booked before June 30 and have a travel date through September 30. However, you need to complete your new travel date before December 31, 2021.

For tickets expiring before September 30, you can exchange your ticket as a travel voucher which you can use through December 31, 2021.

Read More: American Airlines Coronavirus Flight Cancelations

Delta Airlines

Delta has halted some of its operations through the summer. Compared to last year, they are now operating at 20% for domestic flights and 10 % for international flights. You can visit the airline’s website to get a complete list of available flight destinations.

Through September 30, Delta will block middle seat selection to adhere to social distancing guidelines so expect a reduction in flight capacity of about 50% for first-class seats, 60% in the main cabin, and 75% for Delta Comfort+.

The airline has also temporarily implemented a back-to-front boarding process and has temporarily suspended complimentary upgrades.

Flight Cancelation Policy

Re-booking fees have been waived for all tickets purchased and scheduled through September 30, 2020, but your new travel dates must be completed before September 30, 2022.

There are also no change fees for trips booked through June 30, 2020, but you need to complete your new travel dates within a year of your original purchase date.

The airline has waived change fees for travel already purchased and scheduled through September 30, 2020. Rebooked travel must take place before September 30, 2022. According to Delta’s website, any trips booked through June 30, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for travel within a year of the purchase date.

Read More: Delta Airlines Coronavirus Flight Cancellations And Changes

Air Travel Safety Measures

Delta is increasing its efforts to disinfect planes in between flights and all touchpoints that are involved in the flight journey such as check-in kiosks and gates. Crew members and passengers alike are also required to wear a face covering.

With regards to Delta’s cleaning procedures, here’s a quick overview of what it entails:

  • Both domestic and international aircraft will undergo fogging.
  • All high-touch areas like seatback pockets, armrests, and tray tables will be thoroughly disinfected
  • Designated Delta employees will conduct spot checks before each flight to make sure that the aircraft meets DeltaClean standards.

Read More: Flying Delta First Class During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Southwest Airlines

Since March 4, Southwest has enhanced it’s sanitation procedures which include cleaning their aircraft for at least six to seven hours every night. The airline mentioned in our of their blog posts that they’re currently using a hospital-grade disinfectant on all touchpoints.

Flight Cancelation Policy

Southwest allows you to re-book your flights without fees as long as you cancel your flight 10 minutes before departure. The value of your ticket would then be valid for travel within one year of the original booking date.

You can check the airline’s complete list of available destinations on its website.

Rapid Rewards members who have expiring funds or funds acquired between March 1 – September 7, 2020, can convert their travel funds into points (at the same price value of buying a ticket using points).

Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant isn’t blocking middle seats unlike its competitors but it’s still encouraging people to observe social-distancing guidelines.

However, according to a press release, the airline is expecting to reduce 80% to 90% of its flight capacity during April, May, and the summer months.

Since the coronavirus is unpredictable, the airline hasn’t really announced official policies but they only mentioned that they’re trying to be as flexible as they can to cater to their customers.

Allegiant chairman and CEO, Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr. said, “With the situation changing daily, we are taking proactive steps to ensure operations continue, protect the livelihoods of our team members, and put us in the best possible position to serve our customers when demand for travel returns.”

Air Travel Safety Measures

With regards to health screening protocols, the airline asks passengers to acknowledge if they are free of any contagious illness. They have also added extra measures on their sanitation procedures and here’s a quick look at it:

  • The airline is currently using an advanced protectant solution that can kill almost any virus and other harmful bacteria.
  • Scheduled deep-cleaning procedures are done regularly.
  • Guests are given cleaning wipes upon request.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is still implementing social distancing measures up to this date. In fact, the airline will limit its flight capacity by blocking select seats through July 31, 2020.

However, families, large groups, and couples may sit together as long as they can make their requests in advance or at least a few hours before the flight.

Crew members and passengers are also required to wear masks throughout the duration of the journey. Passengers must bring their own mask but will be provided with one if ever they forget theirs.

Air Travel Measures

Alaska Airlines is currently cleaning their aircraft in between flights but here’s a quick look at what other safety precautions they’re doing.

  • Seatback contents are removed and warm towel service is also discontinued in First Class.
  • Sorting of recycling items will also be discontinued onboard to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Inflight entertainment tablets are also removed to add more trash carts.

Hawaiian Airlines

Due to quarantine rules, Hawaiian airlines have reduced or even stopped most of its long-haul flights to the mainland U.S. and other international destinations. It did retain a few inter-island flights and some select flights to the mainland (Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco).

But recently, the airline announced that it will start resuming flights (only a select few) going to and from U.S. mainland cities on August 1, 2020. Plus, fliers who take a valid Covid-19 test, which meets airline guidelines, will also be exempted from quarantine protocols.

Flight Cancelation Policy

The airline will allow fliers to make changes to their flights without any fees. They can either re-schedule for a future date through the end of the year or cancel their flights in exchange for a voucher or a refund.

Read More: What Will Travel After Coronavirus Look Like?

Coronavirus travel how airlines are adjusting to coronavirus

Thoughts From Points Panda

We can see that the demand for travel in the U.S. has greatly plummeted, however, it’s not going to take long for the market to bounce back again. A lot of airline companies will pretty much see a surge in sales as we approach the summer season.

There’s no stopping people from doing what they want to do, especially with months of being quarantined at home. But travel isn’t going to be the same, that’s for sure, because airline companies will still prioritize the health and safety of their passengers. Expect mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, and stricter health protocols in the coming months.

Now, if you need help traveling during this pandemic, we can assist you through our travel concierge. It’s one full year of unlimited credit card and travel consultation.

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