United Airlines to Maximize Ventilation System During Boarding and Deplaning - United Hub

United Airlines to Maximize Ventilation System During Boarding and Deplaning

July 20, 2020

CHICAGO, July 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced that the carrier will now maximize air flow volume for all mainline aircraft high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems during the entire boarding and deplaning process, helping further reduce the spread of COVID-19. In combination with the HEPA filters, the air conditioning and pressurization system onboard United's mainline aircraft recirculates the air every 2-3 minutes and removes 99.97% of particles – including viruses and bacteria during both ground and air operations – making the air onboard a plane significantly cleaner than what people typically experience in restaurants, grocery stores, schools or even some hospitals. United pilots and ground staff are working to implement this new procedure for mainline aircraft beginning July 27.

To see an animation of how air flows throughout the cabin click here

"We know the environment on an aircraft is safe and because the air flow is designed to minimize the transmission of disease, the earlier we maximize air flow over our HEPA filtration system, the better for our crew and our customers," said Scott Kirby, United's chief executive officer. "The quality of the air, combined with a strict mask policy and regularly disinfected surfaces, are the building blocks towards preventing the spread of COVID-19 on an airplane. We expect that air travel is not likely to get back to normal until we're closer to a widely administered vaccine – so we're in this for the long haul. And I am going to keep encouraging our team to explore and implement new ideas, new technologies, new policies and new procedures that better protect our customers and employees."

On commercial aircraft, fresh air flows downward into the cabin from ceiling vents and exits the cabin at the floor and sidewalls. That air is then routed through the HEPA filters and mixed with fresh, outside air before returning back to the cabin. According to Boeing, that top-to bottom pattern, and frequent air exchange helps minimize front-to-back air movement and reduces the potential for spread of contaminants from people, such as through sneezing or coughing. The system replaces the entire volume of cabin air every 2-3 minutes by providing 50% HEPA filtered, recirculated air mixed with 50% outside air, which allows a constant flow of either fresh or HEPA filtered air throughout the cabin. In addition, United has been partnering with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to study how effectively the unique airflow configuration onboard an aircraft can prevent the spread of aerosolized particles among passengers and crew.

During a review of its cleaning and safety procedures with its United CleanPlus partners - Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic - United identified new opportunities during boarding and deplaning to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Already, the airline boards passengers back-to-front and deplanes five rows at a time. The new air filtration procedure on mainline aircraft will maximize air flow volume and recirculation of cabin air for passengers from the moment they step onboard.

"HEPA filters are an effective way to ensure clean air on an aircraft," said Dr. James Merlino from The Cleveland Clinic. "United's new strategy of running the air filtration and circulation systems at maximum volume well before passengers board and until they deplane, adds one more layer of protection. In addition to air filtration, we have worked with the airline to enact measures such as mandatory masking, health screenings, disinfection, and touchless systems, as we believe layering on precautions, more than any one strategy alone, helps create the safest environment possible."

Among the First to Require Masks

United was one of the first airlines in the country to mandate that everyone onboard wear a face covering, providing complimentary masks to any customer or employee who needs one. When worn properly, face coverings prevent particles from one passenger's respiratory system from getting into the air and then potentially infecting others. Customers who do not comply with United's policy risk having their travel benefits suspended.

Limiting Number of Passengers on Board

The airline is also taking steps to limit the overall number of people on board and separate customers wherever possible. United switched to a larger plane 66 times a day in May and June, for a total of more than 4,000 flights during those months, creating more space onboard. As a result, the airline's consolidated average seat factor – or the percentage of occupied seats including customers and non-revenue passengers – was 38% in May; 57% in June and is expected to be about 45% in July, with less than 15% of flights operating with more than 70% seats filled.

When United flights are less full, the airline's advanced automated seating tool assigns seats in a way that maximizes the space on board – and the distance between customers. And since May, United has been contacting customers via email and through the United app – as much as 24 hours in advance – if their flight is expected to be more than 70% full and gives them options to switch to different, less full flights for no additional fees. Customers also have the option to cancel their flight and receive a credit for future travel. To date, the overwhelming majority of customers choose to keep their travel plans the same.

United is focused on delivering a new level of cleanliness on the ground and in the air. In addition to the vital initiatives mentioned above, several of the airline's precautionary measures to further ensure a cleaner environment include:

At Check-In

  • Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hubs and other airports throughout the airline's system
  • Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
  • Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand six feet apart
  • Becoming the first airline in the world to roll out touchless check-in capabilities for customers with bags

At the Gate

  • Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
  • Providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
  • Rolling out Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers in select markets to disinfect gate areas at United's hub airports
  • Enabling customers to self-scan boarding passes
  • Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front
  • Introduced real-time seat assignment update text and email notifications to further United's touchless airport experience

On Board

  • Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect most aircraft prior to flight
  • Disinfecting high-touch areas – such as tray tables and armrests – prior to boarding
  • Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
  • Deplaning in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding
  • Providing onboard items including pillows and blankets upon request

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

United Airlines Announces Eight New Routes and Increases Flights to 19 Destinations in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico for Winter Sun-Seekers

October 16, 2020

CHICAGO, Oct. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced a significant expansion of its winter international schedule, introducing eight new routes and adding flights to 19 destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. Starting in December, United will begin new nonstop service between Los Angeles and San Jose, Costa Rica and San Pedro Sula, Honduras; between Denver and Belize City, Belize and San Jose, Costa Rica; between Washington D.C. and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and returning service between Cleveland and Cancun, Mexico. In January, United will begin new nonstop service between Liberia, Costa Rica and both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new flights are subject to government approval.

United Airlines Starts Customer COVID-19 Testing Program at San Francisco International Airport

October 15, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, customers traveling on United from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii were the first to experience the airline's COVID-19 pilot testing program, allowing customers who return a negative result to bypass the state's mandatory quarantine requirements and enjoy their time on the islands sooner. In collaboration with San Francisco International Airport, customers now have the option to take a same-day, pre-flight rapid test at the airport or a conveniently-located drive-through test at United's San Francisco Maintenance Center ahead of their trip. United has been approved by the Hawaii Department of Health as a trusted testing and travel partner and was the first U.S. carrier to announce its plans to make COVID-19 tests available to customers.

As Q3 Ends, United Airlines Shifts from Surviving the COVID-19 Crisis to Positioning to Lead the Rebound

October 14, 2020

CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines (UAL) today announced third-quarter 2020 financial results. Since the beginning of the crisis, the company has been at the forefront of the industry in delivering on its three-pillar strategy of building and maintaining liquidity, minimizing cash burn and variabilizing its cost structure. Achieving these objectives has supported the airline's ability to manage the crisis as well as or better than its competitors and positions United to lead the industry when demand for air travel returns.

​Peerspace Teams with United to Bundle Flights with Work and Meeting Spaces for Remotely-Distributed Companies

October 06, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6, 2020 Peerspace – the leading marketplace for booking meeting, production and event spaces – today announced it is collaborating with United Airlines to bundle flights with meeting space rentals for companies adopting flexible, remote work policies.

United Airlines Resumes Nonstop Service Between San Francisco and Shanghai

October 04, 2020

CHICAGO, Oct. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced it will start nonstop service to China four-times weekly between San Francisco and Shanghai's Pudong International Airport. Beginning Oct. 21, 2020, United will operate four weekly nonstop flights with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from San Francisco to Shanghai on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Customers traveling from Shanghai will return to San Francisco on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Tickets are available for purchase on united.com and the United mobile app.

United Airlines to Hold Webcast of Third-Quarter 2020 Financial Results

October 02, 2020

CHICAGO, Oct. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines will hold a conference call to discuss third-quarter 2020 financial results on Thursday, October 15, at 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET. A live, listen-only webcast of the conference call will be available at ir.united.com. The company will issue its third-quarter earnings release after market close on Wednesday, October 14.

United Airlines Plans to Increase Service on More than 40 Caribbean and Mexican Beach Routes in November

October 02, 2020

CHICAGO, Oct. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced it plans to resume service on nearly 30 international routes in November, including flights to cities in Asia, Europe, and South America. Additionally, the airline continues to strategically rebuild its domestic and international network by offering customers service to popular leisure destinations in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Central America and Mexico. Even with these additions, United's November schedule is still less than half of what it was this time last year. The airline plans to fly 44% of its schedule in November compared to 2019, and a 4-point increase compared to October 2020.

United Airlines Becomes First U.S. Carrier to Make COVID-19 Tests Available to Customers

September 24, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today became the first U.S. airline to launch a COVID-19 pilot testing program for travelers that could make it easier for them to manage quarantine requirements and entry conditions of popular destinations around the world. Starting on October 15, customers traveling on United from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hawaii will have the option to take a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip.

United Launches Online 'Map Search' Feature, A First Among U.S. Airlines

September 23, 2020

CHICAGO, Sept. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Let's say you live in Chicago, have $250 to spend on a flight and are looking to go somewhere warm for the holidays. Or you're on the east coast and want to head west for a last-minute getaway to visit a national park. Now, instead of doing multiple, time-consuming searches online, United Airlines has launched a quick and easy way to see all your travel options in one place.

United Airlines Selected to be Official Airline of the Commission on Presidential Debates

September 22, 2020

CHICAGO, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has selected United Airlines as the official airline for the 2020 Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates. United will fly 65 CPD staff and crew to each of the four debates being sponsored and produced by the Commission, starting with the first Presidential debate on Sept. 29 at the Samson Pavilion at Case Western Reserve University, on the main campus of Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic is serving as Health Security Advisor to the Commission on Presidential Debates, and earlier this year, United partnered with Cleveland Clinic to guide the airline's health and safety protocols. In addition to the Commission production staff, United will be flying medical professionals from Cleveland Clinic who will be onsite for the debates.

United Adds Antimicrobial Spray to Already Extensive Cabin-Cleaning Measures

September 16, 2020

CHICAGO, Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced that it is adding Zoono Microbe Shield, an EPA registered antimicrobial coating that forms a long-lasting bond with surfaces and inhibits the growth of microbes, to the airline's already rigorous safety and cleaning procedures. United is currently applying the coating each week on more than 30 aircraft to seats, tray tables, armrests, overhead bins, lavatories and crew stations and expects to add this latest measure to its entire mainline and express fleet before the end of the year.

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