Disinfecting aircraft cabins is a key part of a multi-layered public health risk-reduction strategy, according to a technical bulletin published this week by faculty at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The findings support Delta’s extensive cleaning practices, including our industry-leading commitment to electrostatic spraying of high-touch surfaces using high-grade disinfectant on every flight, every day.
While contaminated surfaces account for less than 10 percent of COVID-19 transmission risk in certain settings, the study found that diligent cleaning protocols, combined with a number of other strategies, offer significant protection for air travelers.
“Current research in infection control recommends enhanced cleaning be combined with other risk reduction strategies by airports, airlines, passengers, and aircraft crew members to minimize the amount of infectious virus in the environment,” according to the Harvard report.
“These include screening and health attestations to help exclude symptomatic people, use of advanced ventilation and filtration systems on aircraft, and personal protections such as wearing face masks and good hand hygiene.”
Harvard’s latest bulletin – part of a set of recommendations to reduce the health risks of flying during the pandemic – notes that airlines should focus cabin cleaning on high-frequency touch surfaces, with systematic disinfection of surfaces between flights on a daily basis.
Every interior surface on every Delta flight is thoroughly sanitized prior to boarding using electrostatic sprayers – including lavatories. Delta is distributing customer care kits, available at all Delta ticket counters and gates, that offer a hand sanitizer wipe and a mask.
Customers also receive a hand sanitizer wipe upon boarding.
Finally, Delta will become the first US airline where customers can find hand sanitizer stations near the boarding door and bathrooms on every Delta aircraft; those installations began in August.
Overall, Delta has instituted more than 100 layers of protection from check-in to baggage claim to deliver a new standard of cleanliness, more space and safer service for customers and employees alike.