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

United Airlines to Maximize Ventilation System During Boarding and Deplaning

New procedure will maximize air flow volume and recirculation of cabin air for passengers
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 Releases First-Quarter Financial Results - Rebounding Demand is Driving Clear Path to Profitability

Expects positive adjusted EBITDA margins* later this year
April 19, 2021

CHICAGO, April 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines (UAL) today announced first-quarter 2021 financial results. The company has its eyes on the future, making continued progress on its commitment to remove $2 billion in structural costs and investing in key customer programs that will position the airline to capitalize on the recovery of business travel and long-haul international demand.

United Airlines Adds New Flights to Croatia, Greece and Iceland as Countries Begin to Reopen to Vaccinated Travelers

United is the only airline that allows customers to upload vaccine results within its mobile app and website through the airline's Travel-Ready Center
April 19, 2021

CHICAGO, April 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United is adding three new flights to its international network, giving travelers more options for summer travel by flying direct to countries that are starting to reopen to vaccinated visitors. Starting in July, United will offer new direct flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Dubrovnik, Croatia, from Washington Dulles International Airport to Athens, Greece and from Chicago O'Hare International Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland, all subject to government approval.

United Airlines to Lead Industry Switch to Sustainable Aviation Fuel with Global Corporations, Customers

New United Eco-Skies Alliance Program includes global corporate leaders who, with United, will pay towards more sustainable aviation fuel, all companies invited to participate
April 13, 2021

CHICAGO, April 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines continues to lead the industry towards a more sustainable future with the launch of the first-of-its-kind Eco-Skies Alliance SM program. Working with the airline, more than a dozen leading global corporations will collectively contribute towards the purchase of approximately 3.4 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) this year. With its nearly 80% emissions reductions on a lifecycle basis compared to conventional jet fuel, this is enough SAF to eliminate approximately 31,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, or enough to fly passengers over 220 million miles.

United Sets New Diversity Goal: 50% of Students at New Pilot Training Academy To Be Women and People of Color

United Airlines is only major U.S. airline to own flight school: United Aviate Academy
April 06, 2021

CHICAGO, April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, will begin accepting applications today as it embarks on an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color. Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry.

United Returns to JFK With Coast-to-Coast Flights and the Most Premium Seats From the NYC Area

Flights feature a reconfigured Boeing 767-300ER airplane with 46 business class seats and 22 United Premium Plus® seats
March 29, 2021

NEW YORK, March 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United is back at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), now operating direct service to the airline's West Coast hubs – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) from New York City. The airline will use its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft which features 46 business class all-aisle-access seating, and 22 United Premium Plus® seats. The airline operates the most premium seats between the New York City area and Los Angeles and San Francisco combined.

United to Hold Webcast of First-Quarter 2021 Financial Results

March 26, 2021

CHICAGO, March 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines will hold a conference call to discuss first-quarter 2021 financial results on Tuesday, April 20 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 first-quarter financial results after market close on Monday, April 19.

United Airlines Adds New Direct Flights to Coastal Vacation Destinations Starting Memorial Day Weekend

Airline adds 26 new routes between Midwest cities and popular summer getaway destinations in the South and New England
March 25, 2021

CHICAGO, March 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- As more travelers begin to plan long-awaited getaways with family and friends, United Airlines is kicking off summer vacation season with a robust May schedule that includes the addition of 26 new nonstop routes between Midwest cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati and Milwaukee and popular vacation destinations such as Hilton Head, S.C.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Portland, Maine. The airline also plans to resume more than 20 domestic routes and will start new service between Orange County, Calif., and Honolulu.

United Airlines to Present at the 2021 J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference

March 09, 2021

CHICAGO, March 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines will present at the J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference on Monday, March 15. United Airlines' Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby will present at the conference beginning at 8:40 a.m. CT / 9:40 a.m. ET.

The live webcast will be available on the investor relations section of United's website at ir.united.com. The company will archive the audio webcast on the website within 24 hours of the presentation, and the webcast will be available for a limited time.

From Airline to Landline: United Offers Seamless Travel from Denver International Airport to Breckenridge and Fort Collins

New luxury bus collaboration allows customers to fly into DEN, have their bags and ski equipment automatically transferred and be driven to Breckenridge and Fort Collins
February 26, 2021

DENVER, Feb. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United announced today that it is making it easier for customers to travel to Breckenridge and Fort Collins, Colorado with convenient year-round ground transportation service connecting through its Denver hub. This is the first time Breckenridge has ever been served by an airline and will be Fort Collins' first global network carrier service in 25 years.

United Airlines Names Laysha Ward to Board of Directors

February 24, 2021

CHICAGO, Feb. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (UAL) announced today that Laysha Ward is joining its Board of Directors. Ward, currently Executive Vice President and Chief External Engagement Officer of Target Corporation, brings an impressive resume with more than three decades of corporate leadership experience to the UAL Board.

United Announces Plans to Begin New Daily Nonstop Service Between Boston Logan and London Heathrow

United will be the only U.S. carrier to offer nonstop service between the nation's top seven business markets and London Heathrow
February 19, 2021

CHICAGO, Feb. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to expand its global route network with new, nonstop service between Boston Logan International Airport and London Heathrow. This new service builds upon United's growing presence in London and provides customers on the East Coast with another convenient option to get to London. United plans to operate its premium Boeing 767-300ER aircraft on the route, with 46 United Polaris Business Class and 22 United Premium Plus seats. The aircraft features the highest proportion of premium seats on any widebody aircraft operated by a U.S. carrier between London and the United States.

Scroll to top