Americans have become germ-obsessed since the recent “pandemic” hit the country earlier in the year.
Hand sanitizers have been a hot, new commodity and everywhere you look, someone wiping down a surface.
But all the man-hours and supplies it takes to maintain such a vigilant line of defense costs money.
There are some things that should just be cleaned regularly like toilets and doorknobs. But some things are just ridiculous to sanitize every few minutes, like conveyer belts and signs.
Traveling means you are going to not only see a lot of new people, but are going to touch a lot of things many people before you have touched… unless, of course, you decide to journey to one of these remote destinations.
Despite the media frenzy concerning cases rising in states that are reopening, Southwest Airlines has decided to cut back on their COVID cleaning protocols – already!
Airlines were frantic to regain passengers beginning in early March when flights dropped drastically for fear of contracting the novel coronavirus. So new policies were adopted for the safety and peace of mind of passengers like dropping the middle seat and enhancing sanitation practices.
However, time is money, and now that Southwest Airlines has your business once again, you can say sayonara to those policies.
“Effective this month, the airline is now only disinfecting high-touch areas like lavatories and tray tables between flights. Armrests and seat belts will not be disinfected between flights,” reports Travel and Leisure.
Cleaning the areas with the most contact wasn’t already routinely disinfected between flights?
Can you say, “Ew!”
Cleaning the bathrooms between flights is definitely essential, but limiting the only other sanitized area to the tray table seems futile when everyone is touching seatbelts to buckle up (hopefully) and putting their sneezy hands on the armrest.
Nevertheless, the transition is due to decreased time between flights with all the business they are getting now, the airline told Travel and Leisure.
“Since flight schedules have increased, other areas of the aircraft will be disinfected during our overnight cleaning process, when Southwest Teams spend six to seven hours per aircraft cleaning all interior surfaces,” a Southwest spokesperson told T+L.
“Additionally, our electrostatic spraying process applies a disinfectant and spray that forms an anti-microbial coating that kills viruses on contact for 30 days.”
If you want to clean your own space once seated, you can request a disinfectant wipe from an attendant.
The problem is, not everyone knows that – and if I am cleaning Southwest’s planes for them, I think I should get some sort of discount! What’s next?! Hotels where you clean the bathroom from the guests before because cleanliness just takes the hotel too much time?
Also, Southwest will only be offering flights with an eliminated middle seat until October, after which they will still have smaller groups boarding…until that becomes too costly of course.
The upside is Southwest does intend to use thermal cameras to check temperatures before boarding.
“As always, Southwest will monitor Customer and Employee feedback as we adapt to the new normal in air travel, while ensuring we keep safety as our top priority,” the airline shared with T+L.
Customer satisfaction is essential to creating a brand that produces profit, so while the media continues to push the dangers of COVID-19, airlines will do what they need to do to get you to buy a ticket.
But rest assured, when the hype ends, so will the focus on cleanliness.
So just like any other public area, practice common sense to avoid contracting an illness.