THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
As lockdown continues to ease and passengers return to air travel, there has been an understandable concern about the hygiene of aircraft, and now a new ratings system is intended to highlight which airlines are performing best in terms of cleanliness and hygiene.
In July, IATA, the International Air Transport Association, published a study which found a high level of concern among passengers about cleanliness when flying. The study revealed that the majority of travelers are taking precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19, with 77% of respondents saying they're washing their hands more frequently, 71% avoiding large meetings and 67% confirming they've worn a face mask in public. The survey also found that there are concerns about cleanliness throughout the flying process, with 55% concerned about "Being in a crowded bus/train on the way to the aircraft" and 65% concerned about "Sitting next to someone who might be infected" on board a flight.
With these concerns apparent, travel website Skyscanner is introducing a system of ratings based on hygiene and cleanliness to help travelers find out which airlines are performing best in key metrics. Individual airlines will receive scores based on whether or not face masks are mandatory, how often a plane is deep cleaned, whether the flight crew wear PPE or not, whether passenger sanitation packs are provided, and what changes have been made to food services.
Jon Thorne of Skyscanner explained that "The airline ratings mean that travelers searching on Skyscanner can easily get a sense of what the flying and travel experience will be like when they are planning and booking on our site. Health and safety are obviously high on the priority list for those looking to get away and these ratings provide an extra layer of clarity and peace of mind ... as well as enabling airlines to explain their on-board procedures in a straightforward way."
The ratings are being provided and verified by AirlineRatings.com, with their founder Geoffrey Thomas commenting that "The new COVID-19 ratings have already resulted in a number of airlines upgrading their safety measures to comply."