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.
A weird AIRPLANE ✈️ infection case—according to CDC, patient was wearing N95 mask except when she used the bathroom also used by infected person. Before flight, she didn't go outside, self-quarantined for 3 wks at her home, didn’t use public transit. ➡️ Likely 🚽infection. 🧵 https://t.co/95nQJh8CNG
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) August 26, 2020
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?
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…