A few days ago, I wrote about United Airlines waiving change fees for a year on tickets purchased before March 31, 2020. I felt this was generous of the airline, but it ultimately to be self-serving. The airline wants to get more customers to fly with them during this coronavirus pandemic. In addition to waiving fees, United sent an e-mail to frequent fliers outline its coronavirus response. Below is the entire e-mail:
I consider you part of our United family and your safety remains our highest priority.
We are in the business of serving people and in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak it’s important that we give you as much flexibility as possible when planning your next trip. But it’s also important that we give you as much information as possible about the procedures we follow to clean our aircraft and maintain a sanitary environment once we’re in the air.
Our teams are in daily contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), federal agencies and other global health organizations to share the most up-to-the-minute information to ensure the actions we’re taking are comprehensive and appropriate.
So today, I wanted to personally reach out and share a few of the steps we are taking for you, our customer:
Before you fly
To give you the greatest flexibility, when you book any flight with us now through March 31, you can change it for free over the next 12 months – any ticket, any fare type, any destination.
On the ground
Our team of in-house medical experts and industrial hygienists oversee our aircraft cleaning procedures to ensure they meet or exceed all CDC guidelines. Hard surfaces such as lavatories, tray tables, window shades and armrests are thoroughly wiped down with a high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner. And when we are advised by the CDC of a person who has traveled on board and is potentially exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, that aircraft is taken out of service and sent through a full decontamination process that includes our standard cleaning procedures plus washing ceilings and overhead bins and scrubbing the interior.
In the air
Our aircraft are equipped with state-of-the-art circulation systems, similar to those found in hospitals, which use a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter to circulate the air and remove more than 99% of airborne particles. We’re also adjusting our inflight service to limit person-to-person contamination. This includes handing beverages directly to customers instead of allowing customers to touch a tray and ensuring all flight attendants wear gloves during service.
More information on each of these efforts can be found on the United Hub.
I know I speak for every member of our United family when I say that we take the greatest pride in the role we play in the lives of our customers, personally and professionally.
I want you to know that you can continue to rely on us. So, the next time we have the privilege of welcoming you aboard our aircraft, you can know our commitment to you remains as steadfast as ever.
Most of the information United offers in this e-mail barely scratches the surface of addressing the virus. Listening to medical professionals and “cleaning” aircraft should have been happening long before this outbreak. I feel like these things are common knowledge. The repackaging of the waiver into this correspondence does not help me. I would like to know what kind of “outside of the box” methods the company will implement to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I expect more from one of the major airlines in the world.