Airplane cabins have some of the best conditions for coronavirus to thrive. They are both cool and dry, which allows the virus to linger much longer than it would in hot and humid environments (or at least that is what early research suggests).
On top of that, inside an airplane it is difficult to get space between you and other passengers. The recommended social distancing guideline of 6 feet is not always achievable and even though some airlines are not filling middle seats, that still is not enough.
But when it comes to making contact with armrests, seats, and other hard surfaces like lavatory handles, Delta might be one of the safest airlines to fly on right now.
They just achieved an important milestones of using electrostatic sprayers on all of their flights.
Delta just announced:
“As of this week, Delta is sanitizing every flight at every Delta airport using electrostatic sprayers”
These sprayers electrically charge and disperse liquid disinfectant in a fine mist that clings to surfaces such as seats and armrests and is highly effective against many communicable diseases like coronaviruses.
They started using the sprayers back in February for flights that were flying between hotspots but they decided to expand their use so that customers flying from anywhere will feel more comfortable.
As Delta reiterated:
“Our customers can fly with confidence knowing that, on every Delta flight, the cabin has been sanitized top to bottom, interior surfaces and common areas have been thoroughly cleaned”
Delta is also sanitizing Reservation Centers, employee work and break areas in airports, pilot and flight attendant lounges, and office spaces using this same procedure.
The air inside of an airplane cabin is filtered similar to the air inside of a hospital. The World Health Organization states:
Research has shown that there is very little risk of any communicable disease being transmitted on board an aircraft.
Most modern aircraft have recirculation systems, which recycle up to 50% of cabin air. The recirculated air is usually passed through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, of the type used in hospital operating theatres and intensive care units, which trap dust particles, bacteria, fungi and viruses.
The main threat on planes comes from those passengers who are seated in the same area, as the WHO states:
Transmission of infection may occur between passengers who are seated in the same area of an aircraft, usually as a result of the infected individual coughing or sneezing or by touch (direct contact or contact with the same parts of the aircraft cabin and furnishings that other passengers touch).
So Delta is doing its part to reduce the risk of infection by coming into contact with parts of the aircraft cabin that other prior passengers have touched.
That’s a nice step but you will still need to consider the other major risk factor of coming into contact with particles that nearby passengers are exhaling.
With every passenger wearing a mask and hand sanitizing taking place, these other risk factors are hopefully being largely addressed.
But if you combine adequate hand sanitation with the face coverings and electrostatic sprayers on every flight, I think you have a pretty powerful set of procedures to slow down the spread of viruses. So basically, if I had to choose one airline to fly today it would likely be an airlines like Delta Airlines who is using electrostatic sprayers on every flight.
It’s worth noting that some other airlines are using electrostatic sprayers and have plans to use them on all operating flights soon, I’m just not aware of other legacy carriers currently using them on every single flight.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.
Well, I would argue about Delta. The safest airline in the world was the Australian airline Qantas. He was awarded this title for the seventh time in a row. Moreover, Qantas – recognized as the most experienced airline in the industry – it is the oldest continuously operating airline in the world, which has accumulated amazing records in the field of operation and flight safety over 99 years of operation, according to AirlineRatings. Good luck!