Delta Installing Hand Sanitizer Stations On Planes

Filed Under: Delta

I’m a bit surprised it took this long, but Delta is becoming the first US airline to install hand sanitizer stations onboard aircraft.

Delta’s new hand sanitizer stations

Delta will be installing hand sanitizer stations near the boarding door and bathrooms on every Delta aircraft. Up until this point the airline has had hand sanitizer stations in the airport, and also offered individual packets onboard, but hasn’t had these stations installed.

Delta will start installing hand sanitizer stations on Boeing 757-200s as of today (August 28), and then you can expect that over the coming weeks these will be rolled out throughout the fleet.

This is particularly useful during boarding (when you may be touching different things), and also after exiting the lavatory, given that some people seem to struggle with opening the lavatory door without using their bare hands.

Why airplane bathrooms are problematic

I think many people have misconceptions about the risks of getting coronavirus in lavatories. Some people might get into the lavatory and say “ah, I’m in a private space at last, I can finally take off my mask.” However, in reality the lavatory is one of the riskiest parts of the aircraft for coronavirus.

A recent case saw someone infected with coronavirus who was nearing an N95 mask the entire flight, except when using the lavatory. That lavatory was also used by an asymptomatic person, and it’s believed that this is how the person got coronavirus.

Along those lines, Delta is emphasizing the other things it’s doing to keep lavatories clean and safe, including:

  • Flight attendants will wipe down high-touch surfaces in lavatories frequently during each flight
  • Some Delta aircraft have hands-free lavatory features; bathrooms on Delta A350s, A330-900neos, 767-400s, and 757-200s, have touchless faucets, flush levers, and waste lids
  • Hand washing reminders will be installed in each lavatory, and have already been installed on 130 aircraft
  • The airline will continue to use electrostatic sprayers before every flight (which is a huge competitive advantage, because this isn’t something most other airlines do)

So yeah, that took over five months…

I think it’s great that Delta finally installed hand sanitizer stations, but am I the only one shocked that it took over five months into the pandemic for a US airline to do something like this? I know there’s sometimes government approval required for this kind of stuff due to hand sanitizer technically being flammable, but that’s still a long time…

We’re seeing so much talk about new coronavirus testing capabilities that could be a game changer for airlines, though I question the industry’s ability to move quickly. If it takes over five months for even one US airline to install hand sanitizer aboard aircraft, do we think anything else will happen quickly?

Bottom line

It’s great to see Delta making hand sanitizer readily available throughout the journey. While passengers would ideally bring large quantities of their own hand sanitizer, this is great for situations where you go to the lavatory but maybe forget to bring it with you.

The industry has adapted quickly to the pandemic in some ways, but certainly not in other ways…

  1. Am I the only one shocked Delta was the first one to install? UA and AA will follow in 3, 2, 1, …

  2. I guess since they probably will partner with Purell it wasn’t possibly before since it was very difficult to procure and pretty much all Purell production was being shipped to hospitals and healthcare centers

  3. This is great news lucky.

    Between requiring masks, the electrostatic spraying and now purell dispensers, it is clear Delta is leading the pack.

    While hand sanitizer is important, and should most definitely be used regularly during travel, masks are the most important component of protecting people.

  4. I’m sure the flammability of all the alcohol content caused a few glitches while certifying large amounts of open alcohol stations in the cabin. The crew might have also to be trained for a hazard when a fire breaks out. I can see how and why the delay happened.

  5. I think they need to get certified for being able to have open container in the middle of the hallway. In addition to what people said about fire, some other thing to consider is what if it flew out during turbulence? What if it’s leaking can it cause a slip hazard. They need to do FMEA and also work on sourcing these. Could it be done faster? Absolutely but most people in US work 8 hours a day. If they work 996 like the chinese, might be faster.

  6. Help me understand!
    Is the idea that I should fly Delta in appreciation of their plans to install Purcell over the next year, even of it is not even on 1-% of their aircraft?

  7. I hadn’t flown Delta in years and today flew Delta from YYZ to DTW. The plane was a CRJ900. I was impressed. Clean. Small snacks (water, granola bar and biscuits) were provided and the bag included sanitizer. Very professional. Every other seat was blocked. Overall a great experience.

  8. I’d imagine it took this long because they had to procure the additional Sanitizer (when there’s a shortage), design/manufacture the bottle holder, and certify the bottle holder(?)… after all, the last thing you want is for it to come unloose and hit someone in the face during takeoff.

    I’d be weary sitting in one of the bulkhead rows as some people seem to have terrible aim when it comes to those pumps ;-).

  9. While it seems easy, installing anything in/on an aircraft requires jumping through a series of prototypes and design approvals. On top of flamability that has been mentioned earlier, there are other things to consider such as material selection, shape, Head Impact Collision, Egress, etc. I must say, 5 months to get the product designed and installed in the cabin is quite impressive.

  10. @bob doll why r u opposed to cleanliness? Car kills that’s why rest of the world especially asia take public transport. Other countries minimize loss of life even if it’s 0.0001%

  11. One thing about this discussion that doesn’t make sense to me is that the whole idea of Masks is to protect other people *from* you and not the other way around. Example: Have you visited a Trader Joe’s lately, wearing an N95 mask? They make you tape up the exhaust vent on the mask before they’ll let you in the store. They do supply the Tape of course. 🙂

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