JetBlue Airways today reiterated its commitment to social distancing on flights by extending its policy of blocking middle seats until at least July 6, the carrier said in a statement.
The policy, part of the airline’s multi-layered “Safety from the Ground Up” program, comes as the airline is also set to roll out temperature monitoring for its flight and inflight crewmembers and electrostatic aircraft fogging in June.
JetBlue will only allow the middle seat to be used if passengers are traveling together.
“As communities start to reopen and with summer travel kicking off this weekend, more people are beginning to fly and we want them to feel safe on JetBlue,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer, in a release. “Our program layers together a series of protections throughout the entire travel journey, which work together to help keep everyone safe and well.”
Middle seats will be blocked on its Airbus aircraft, and on its smaller Embraer 190 aircraft, JetBlue will block aisle seats.
“We’re known for generous legroom and space, and now more than ever those choosing to travel want as much space as possible,” Geraghty said. “We are pleased to extend our efforts to keep seats free and help everyone onboard spread out.”
JetBlue’s program puts in place safeguards across four focus areas, including healthy crewmembers, who will receive temperature checks, disinfectant kits and required face coverings; clean air and surfaces, including disinfectant approved to kill coronavirus, hand sanitizer throughout terminals and disinfectant wipes to customers onboard upon request, and using electrostatic sprayers to fog the inside of the aircraft; more space and few touchpoints, featuring face coverings for all customers during check-in, boarding and inflight, touchless check-in and boarding back to front; and travel flexibility, including waiving change and cancel fees for tickets purchased by May 31 to give customers confidence when booking.
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Survey Highlights Coronavirus Changes Airline Passengers Want
A recent survey of business and leisure airline passengers highlighted the guidelines and health-related equipment travelers are looking for when boarding a plane during and after the coronavirus outbreak.
According to information from Honeywell, around 72 percent were more concerned with the environment on an airplane than in an airport, which only saw 28 percent of respondents voice the most concern.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents also cited social distancing as their top priority during travel, while about half of those surveyed cited air quality (51 percent) and personal protective equipment such as masks (47 percent) as top priorities.
“This survey demonstrates that passengers want high-tech solutions to best validate the entire travel experience as it relates to health and safety,” Honeywell vice president Kevin Suits said in a statement. “Honeywell offers a variety of relevant solutions today that we can bring forward to support travelers.
“We continue to speak with airline executives and transportation leaders about the types of new products and services that would support their efforts to further clean and monitor the cleanliness of their aircraft,” Suits continued. “We are quickly bringing to market new offerings that would be a win-win for our industry and all of us who love to fly.”
In terms of in-flight amenities most-desired by passengers, masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes top the list. Travelers also revealed that cleanliness validation via technology was by far (60 percent) the most important way to provide confidence.
A portion of surveyed passengers also thinks that providing cleaning supplies directly to the passenger would help ensure confidence in the cleanliness of the cabin.
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