Does American Airlines Clean Planes Between Flights?

Does American Airlines Clean Planes Between Flights?

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Around the start of the pandemic, airlines greatly improved their cleaning protocols, in order to make customers feel more at ease. Ultimately we’ve learned over time that coronavirus transmission is typically person-to-person rather than through surfaces, though it’s still nice to have a clean plane, pandemic or not. 😉

While airlines have largely scaled back their cleaning programs, I wanted to briefly talk about how American Airlines might not be doing a great job managing expectations when it comes to this.

American Airlines’ “thoroughly sanitized” planes

If you get boarding push notifications through the American Airlines app, you’ll see that the message states that your flight is “thoroughly sanitized and ready for boarding.”

Unfortunately this seems to be a case of over promising and under delivering. For example, here’s a picture a friend sent me yesterday of his American Airlines first class seat upon boarding.

It’s one thing if this were an isolated incident, but I know that on the flights I’ve taken in recent months, I’ve similarly noticed lackluster cleaning. For example, below is what a seatback pocket looked like during boarding on a recent flight.

While there are no doubt different levels of “thorough sanitization,” I’d consider some level of cleanliness to be rather binary. Either the cabin was checked for basic cleanliness, or it wasn’t. If it wasn’t, it hasn’t been sanitized.

American claims planes are cleaned between each flight

I reached out to American Airlines to ask if the message of planes being “thoroughly sanitized” was simply outdated and hadn’t yet been updated, or if American actually still cleans planes between every flight.

An American Airlines spokesperson explained to me that “there are cleanings between flights, but the deeper cleanings are done overnight.” More specifically:

  • During the cleanings conducted between flights, surfaces in onboard workspaces and common areas such as lavatories, galleys and the flight deck are cleaned with an EPA List N-approved disinfectant; all other areas are vacuumed, inspected and receive additional cleaning and disinfecting as needed
  • Every night, the entire aircraft is disinfected and deep cleaned, with special attention being given to thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting, with an EPA-approved solution, high-touch areas such as seatbelts, tray tables and armrests
  • American also conducts scheduled “ultra” cleans every 45 days, which is a very thorough cleaning covering every surface on the aircraft, including a very deep clean of seats, ceilings, seat tracks, floor, etc.

So between flights the priority is cleaning lavatories and workspaces, but “all other areas are vacuumed, inspected, and receive additional cleaning and disinfecting as needed.” It seems that probably isn’t happening as consistently as it should.

I was told that any customer who has experienced issues with aircraft cleanliness should send their feedback to American Airlines customer relations (which I’d recommend actually doing, because there’s a disconnect between how American thinks planes are being cleaned, and how they’re actually being cleaned).

Bottom line

I’ve been getting more messages from readers in recent weeks about dirty planes. In the case of American, the airline claims that planes are being “thoroughly sanitized” and that all surfaces should at least be checked between flights. Yet that clearly isn’t happening the way it should be.

In fairness, I suspect similar problems exist at other airlines, it just happens to be that I fly American more than other carriers, and it’s where I notice this most and have received the most reader feedback. For that matter, other airlines (like Southwest) don’t even claim to clean planes between flights, but rather only do so at night.

What has your experience been with aircraft cleanliness in recent weeks, especially on American?

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  1. Wendi

    I recently got stuck in Reno. It took 3 cancellations, and 3 days to get back to Pensacola Florida. They kept blaming it on weather, in reality it was a labor issue 2 put of the 3 cancellations. Weather issues the dont have to pay expenses, labor issues they do. Disappointed with the entire nightmare especially since they would cancel the night BEFORE an early flight with no ability to call and talk to a...

    I recently got stuck in Reno. It took 3 cancellations, and 3 days to get back to Pensacola Florida. They kept blaming it on weather, in reality it was a labor issue 2 put of the 3 cancellations. Weather issues the dont have to pay expenses, labor issues they do. Disappointed with the entire nightmare especially since they would cancel the night BEFORE an early flight with no ability to call and talk to a human. Eight hour wait for a call back.
    Planes were both dirty when i finally made it on them Bathrooms had sticky urine all over the floors and my tray table had food and a booger on it! But WEAR YOUR MASK WHEN YOU ARE CHEWING!
    Insane! All the bail out money and flying is a train wreck! Disgusting

  2. ENNA G CARRILLO

    They're so behind cancelling flights that is like one people coming on one side and others arriving the plain in the other side I was not impressed the way of the first class seats look very poor cleaning.i really don't think they clean between flights

  3. Myracassel

    I’d like to think that even between flights the toilets Are Emptied But I was Lucky enough to have the last seat next to the toilet, Which I did use coming from missippi the toilet Was Full!!!!! Flushing didn’t help so setting back in my seat I was bombarded by the Smell, when landing in Ohio, I disembarked only to have others bording, I had to tell the spoiler That the Toilet wad Full Not...

    I’d like to think that even between flights the toilets Are Emptied But I was Lucky enough to have the last seat next to the toilet, Which I did use coming from missippi the toilet Was Full!!!!! Flushing didn’t help so setting back in my seat I was bombarded by the Smell, when landing in Ohio, I disembarked only to have others bording, I had to tell the spoiler That the Toilet wad Full Not Emptied, He Thanked me, But I still wondered if they did empty the toilet, but the turn around wad just minutes. Before leaving . My Heart goes out to anyone sitting next to it or anyone needing to use it since there was Only One. American Airlines charged me a arm and a leg to fly round trip. A Shame I’ll Always Remember it in Future Flying. They have my Email so let’s see if they respond to me about this!!!!!!

  4. June M Cunha

    Well they are very short handed.and pay for a cabin cleaner is very low

  5. Justin

    I make Delta Platinum on segments … which is to say I board lots of planes every year. I’ve never seen anything that bad in 10 years. While every aircraft isn’t always pristine (sometimes there’s wrappers at the bottom of the seat back pocket etc), I’ve never seen anything that glaringly obvious.

  6. Arthur

    On 2 back to back 777 Biz Class seats, I wipes the armrest and tray tables with medical grade wipes which turned up black from filth.

    In both cases the FA promised to “write it up”. Crickets!

    The first was a LAX-MIA which was its first flight of the morning and had overnighted at AA’s base at LAX from the night before.

  7. Luis

    I worked a couple years for one of the companies that clean the planes for a few of the airlines called Jetstream. The planes are cleaned between every flight. American airlines employees don't clean them a contractor does. By the time the plane is unloaded they literally only have minutes to run through the whole interior before boarding starts for next flight or they have to run to the next plane. It's a miserable job...

    I worked a couple years for one of the companies that clean the planes for a few of the airlines called Jetstream. The planes are cleaned between every flight. American airlines employees don't clean them a contractor does. By the time the plane is unloaded they literally only have minutes to run through the whole interior before boarding starts for next flight or they have to run to the next plane. It's a miserable job and I feel for the people that still work there that are treated like slaves for low pay. You wipe down pull down trays vacuum and clean all the stuff people have spilled (gum in seats even dirty diapers in pockets) people are disgusting and this article should be about how nasty passengers are.

  8. Jerry

    Regardless.....there are a lot of "PIGS" traveling......to make things a lot WORST....

  9. Moraima

    My husband and me went to Chicago couple of weeks ago and everything seem fine. We came back home in different dates but complained about the same. Once we hit the plane seat we start sneezing and lots of water coming out of our nose that lasted way after we step out the plane for almost 4 days.

  10. Elizabeth

    So I worked for American’s contracted cleaning company in DFW, so what I know may not apply to LAX or any other airport. Yes, cleaners are told to prioritize the lavs but also first class. At best the rest of the plan will get it’s trash grabbed and vacuumed. Unfortunately if the plane is delayed in anyway getting in to the airport or if there are a number of planes coming in, cleaning becomes rushed....

    So I worked for American’s contracted cleaning company in DFW, so what I know may not apply to LAX or any other airport. Yes, cleaners are told to prioritize the lavs but also first class. At best the rest of the plan will get it’s trash grabbed and vacuumed. Unfortunately if the plane is delayed in anyway getting in to the airport or if there are a number of planes coming in, cleaning becomes rushed. Lavs and first class still get dedicated cleanings but everything else is just cursory. Basically in a rush like that, cleaners will focus on what can be seen when looking at a row. If the seat back pocket isn’t bulging or if there aren’t items sticking out the cleaner will pass by. Last summer, when flights had slowed down there was a sanitizing clean between flights. We wiped trays, arm rests, the seat belt buckles and the handles on high touch surfaces. It was much more thorough but it was time consuming.

  11. Squirrelgirl

    My last flight on American, there was a dirty diaper and what appeared to be chewing tobacco spit in a water bottle along with animal crackers in the seatback pocket. Two of which are straight up bio hazard. If that's "sanitizing" an aircraft, why do we need masks? This flight was in July 2021.

  12. Tonya Shearin

    Well I know last week on the American airlines they brought the trash bag around for everyone to use...it's sad that people want tell they mad a mess. Then when u can't no longer eat on the plane then what just clean up your mess. To grown for that smh but they was good to us and will book them again ....

  13. Lorry Jones

    This is what happens when components outsource their work....

  14. Jim Rimkus

    MY EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN UNITED PLANES ARE MORE FILTHY NOW. THAN BEFORE THE PANDEMIC. PASSENGERS BEWARE!

  15. Linda Levasseur

    Just came from DC Regan to Boston and my tray table was dirty with coffee stains and garbage in the seat pocket. I cleaned up!!!!

  16. Kristina Rose Weaver

    I'm on an American Airlines flight as I write this. There were lots of very visible crumbs in my seat that I had to clean off in order to sit down. It was an aisle seat, so it would have been hard to miss the fact that the seat needed a little attention before boarding had the staff been cleaning between flights.

  17. Mary

    I used to be a manager for a cabin cleaning service at LGA for American and yes the planes are given a quick turn clean in between flights. It would be impossible to check the seat pockets in between flights since the aircraft has limited time at the gate. Overnight all aircraft are given a deep clean and ultras are super cleaned by a cleaning team trained specifically for that. Nobody likes flight delays so...

    I used to be a manager for a cabin cleaning service at LGA for American and yes the planes are given a quick turn clean in between flights. It would be impossible to check the seat pockets in between flights since the aircraft has limited time at the gate. Overnight all aircraft are given a deep clean and ultras are super cleaned by a cleaning team trained specifically for that. Nobody likes flight delays so the teams have a time limit to get the high traffic areas sanitized and remove trash.

  18. Coppellgirl

    Take your own Clorox wipes and wipe down the tray.

  19. Daniela

    In my experience, NO they don't! Just flew to Dallas from Ontario on American. When my kids and I sat down there was a used tissue in the pocket, a wrapper in another and candy on the floor. That's a bit disgusting. I thought they cleaned between flights. Cleaning should be required.

  20. Ann

    I love AMERICAN airlines always gets me home safe no problem and friendly with service

  21. Jim s

    Look, most cleaning is subcontractored out to low bid vendors. Not just AA, but almost every airline. And those folk tend to be whatever the local immigrant group might happen to be, who will take any entry level job in order to survive in the short term, and make a better life for their families in the bigger picture. With generous unemployment packages still out there during the pandemic, for many the return to work...

    Look, most cleaning is subcontractored out to low bid vendors. Not just AA, but almost every airline. And those folk tend to be whatever the local immigrant group might happen to be, who will take any entry level job in order to survive in the short term, and make a better life for their families in the bigger picture. With generous unemployment packages still out there during the pandemic, for many the return to work would be a pay cut. And, since the job has the potential to expose them to covid contaminanted things, many do not want to return to work just yet.
    So where a cleaning crew on a turn flight might have been 4 or 5 people, too often the subcontractor just cannot hire/retain
    enough folk for the task at hand. And then, there are the passengers. The ones getting off the plane certainly could always be a little neater, a bit more attentive to Junior crushing his animal crackers and dropping the hand full of crumbs onto the seat, the floor, and all over the tray table. What about the folk waiting to board? Do they want to wait ,and delay their flight, 30 minutes more so the cleaners can make the airplane spotless, or are they antsy to get moving so they don't miss a connecting flight?
    It isn't just the airlines, BTW. How many restaurants, gift shops, and news stands in airports have reduced hours or are not even open, because they cannot find people to work. All jobs airport/airline related also require background checks,many also have drug tests, and to wear an airport ID a written exam that has to be passed. It might dismay you to know just how many cannot pass just 1 part , let alone all 3 parts to get badged!
    AA was offering cash rewards early on this summer to employees who referred people to jobs with the airline and to subcontractors at several major hubs.

  22. Jeree

    How about if passengers pass their trash to the flight attendants who walk through the aisle many times and definitely on prepare for landing instead of leaving their gross mess for the next guy?

  23. Hugh Ritter

    I fly an average of two three times a month. There are only two people to clean the entire shoe Sledge of the plane in such short period of time the necessary cleaning / sanitation cannot possibly be done before the next group of people bored.
    I've paid attention to who comes on board because I'm usually sitting in the back of the plane they are picking up paper, and other things left behind...

    I fly an average of two three times a month. There are only two people to clean the entire shoe Sledge of the plane in such short period of time the necessary cleaning / sanitation cannot possibly be done before the next group of people bored.
    I've paid attention to who comes on board because I'm usually sitting in the back of the plane they are picking up paper, and other things left behind between the seats as I am leaving the plane and when I first get on the plane the first thing I do after shooting is go to the restroom and it is not wet and has not been clean it stinks it smells disgusting and does not look like it has been cleaned and more than 24 hours.
    More than 100 people on board a plane and it has not been sanitized. I'm starting to look into private airports. It may be more expensive but commercial is starting to be disgusting.

  24. Kona

    Well when the cleaners only have 10 minutes between flights to clean up after dirty ass people. You want to complain do it yourself and keep your seats clean and not use the seat backs as your trash can

  25. TJ

    I work as a plane cleaner, here is the truth. All surfaces are wiped: windows, air vents, screens, tray tables, and arm rest. Seat back pockets should be emptied of all trash and safety cards facing forward. Floors are vacuumed. The the lavatory is wiped down (all surfaces), trash removed, and all supplies replishihed that are below 75%. Also safety searches are completed to ensure no TSA prohibited items are onboard.

    During the day...

    I work as a plane cleaner, here is the truth. All surfaces are wiped: windows, air vents, screens, tray tables, and arm rest. Seat back pockets should be emptied of all trash and safety cards facing forward. Floors are vacuumed. The the lavatory is wiped down (all surfaces), trash removed, and all supplies replishihed that are below 75%. Also safety searches are completed to ensure no TSA prohibited items are onboard.

    During the day is done quick because we only get 10-20 minutes on a plane and when they say get off so they don't code us a delay. If something is left,, that is the cause.. At night it is more through and you should not see this because they have the time.

    Just like every other sector though we are VERY understaffed so that play a role especially on daytime flights with short turn around times.

  26. Melody Clark

    I work for Delta and I can honestly say, we clean those planes thoroughly every flight. We also have a quality process where someone goes behind us and checks. This is not only a safety hazard but it makes the company look bad when the planes are not cleaned.

  27. Phyllis Moran Bohon

    No we flew American Airlines and the lap table next to me had some kind of grape drink on it. They pass out little sanitary napkins to wipe your own space down with. They are like prison guards, not one nice or polite word spoken by the crew. Only words I heard was do you have a mask on.

  28. Shirene Smith

    Just got off a flight to Houston, dirty! Cups under seats dirty

  29. Luz Pace

    Just traveled on your airline, it was a good flight the landing no so good. When opening tray I noticed it was pretty dirty, good thing I carried with me some wiped, so I did your part in trying to keep your passengers healthy. Improvement matters so you don't loose customers. Blessings always.

  30. Anonymous

    From a ground crew standpoint, we do all that we can but the airline gives us little time to clean. In order to avoid getting in trouble we must sacrifice one thing for another, whether it be cleaning one giant mess and not getting to the rest of the plane or doing a quick spot clean on the entire plane and having to skip
    smaller/ less noticable things as shown above. Either way, we...

    From a ground crew standpoint, we do all that we can but the airline gives us little time to clean. In order to avoid getting in trouble we must sacrifice one thing for another, whether it be cleaning one giant mess and not getting to the rest of the plane or doing a quick spot clean on the entire plane and having to skip
    smaller/ less noticable things as shown above. Either way, we catch the brunt of the blame for not being "fast enough" and causing even a 1 minute delay, or for not cleaning the aircraft good enough. We do the best we can but with strict time constraints we're unable to do everything that needs to be done. Everyone from gate agents, to rampers, and flight crew are under the same stress to make a miracle out of nothing or catch the blame, which leads to a poor experience for all of us, passengers included.

  31. 1st class flight. 2nd class citizen

    They pick up big piles between flights and hand passengers wet wipes to wipe their own space down. But they do not clean between flights. Not even the first class seats.
    I found cups of ranch and 2 chicken wings between my arm wrest and the window on my last flight.
    A week before that. I found a posickle stick under my tray. Took it out to throw it away and my tray collapsed.
    Spirit, frontier, then American haha.

  32. Brad

    “Clean” planes on AA are the exception to the rule. As an Exec Platinum with dozens and dozens of flights always in first/business, I can think of maybe two where I didn’t find garbage in the seat back pocket, crumbs and garbage in the storage slot and worst-smudges, greasy fingerprints and food stains on the tray. Each time, the response from AA is “we’re sorry, we’ll try to do better”.

  33. JT

    American and Delta airlines doesn't clean as they say they do, especially during international flights. Delta grossed me out so bad, I've boycotting them for years. They also love to let you breathe in air from the laboratories, on or off the ground. They took away the head rest paper lining, they don't clean them at all.

  34. Kimberly

    American Airlines has some major problems right now! I fly every week for work, and I’ve been compiling photos and all types of pertinent information over the last three months. I WILL be submitting all of my info in one way or another. I’m not sure yet how it will be presented, but something needs to be done!

  35. Saundra Frierson

    I just flown on American Airlines just Wednesday August 11th 2021 and I know for a fact they did not clean that plane. I saw people get off the plane and 5 to 10 minutes later we were boarding the plane from Charlotte North Carolina to Gulfport. Mississippi. I work in the medical field and I do not care how much time it takes since covid we have to do a thorough cleaning. I will be letting American Airlines know about this.

  36. Saundra Frierson

    I just flown on American Airlines just Wednesday August 11th 2021 and I know for a fact they did not clean that plane. I saw people get off the plane and 5 to 10 minutes later we were boarding the plane from Charlotte North Carolina to Gulfport. Mississippi. I work in the medical field and I do not care how much time it takes since covid we have to do a thorough cleaning. I will be letting American Airlines know about this.

  37. Seth Bomgardner

    I'd like you to investigate the cleaning of rental cars. I swear, 8 times out of 10 there is some sort of trash in there that they missed. I usually use enterprise, but have resorted to hertz a lot recently as now enterprise seems to be alwaysout of cars.

  38. Bex

    Delta was no better as of Aug 2021, and the airports as a whole are dirty, with empty sanitizer dispensers, messy restrooms, and debris on floors and surfaces.

  39. Steven E

    There’s never enough time for Fleet presentation to do a thorough clean - In and out quick Let’s go we need to get this boarded and gone- it will never change !!

  40. fuzzy

    I flew AA in 2000 from JFK to Rhode island and was disgusted at how filthy the plane was. Was proud that even though South Africa is a 3rd world country our planes were very clean.

  41. Always Flying Somewhere

    And yet, despite all the SNAFUs, @Lucky continues to be an AA fan boy... ugly lobster roll notwithstanding. :)

  42. Joseph Bankhead

    The flights are always delayed except for the flights that originate from any airport. The ones that originate are cleaned thoroughly since they're parked overnight. It's literally impossible to have a flight come in and go back out with a thorough cleaning.
    Insider

  43. Amy Hood

    No they don't clean between flights, worse, I was on a flight and there was literally human feces on the ground in the toilet! Nasty!

  44. Laura Schwab

    I always use antibacterial wipes on all surfaces, seatbelts, light buttons, seats, trays, etc....the planes are just as dirty now, as they were pre-Covid. Planes are disgusting period, and people are too. Yes, I am the freak who cleans everything, and did prior to Covid. Too bad a pandemic had to force people to be more aware. There is no way in hell they have time inbetween flights to clean planes.

  45. Scooby

    No one believes the planes are sanitized between flights, although I've seen crews cleaning first class and the front of coach while the rear is still trying to disembark. Vacuuming and picking up garbage is one thing, but wiping down surfaces and disinfecting is something entirely different. On a flight from Phoenix to Atlanta, last week, there were 2 people cleaning a 737. That's expecting a lot within a quick turnaround time.

  46. Starr

    This week I flew on Alaska Airlines for the first time. The plane was clean when I boarded and as we were leaving the plane, what appeared to be a cleaning crew of 4 or 5 people were already on the plane and starting work. I was pleased!

  47. glenn t

    While it turns out that Covid transmission through touching surfaces is not such a problem as originally thought, other viruses, notably influenza, remain contagious via unclean surfaces.
    It is therefore disappointing to see that the AA approach to cleanliness has reverted to business as usual.
    They should modify their information to reflect reality, as what they are stating is plainly untrue. Not that truth has any place in airline-speak I suppose.

  48. Patricia Edwards

    Take tons of wipes and a separate bag to dispose of used wipes after you have cleaned the seats, arm rests, seat back trays, remote if there is one ... Only way you are going a cleaning plane is first flight out, but still do your own sanitizing.
    Airlines have reverted to not caring about us. How quickly they forget,how our taxes bailed them out.
    They had removed the magazines, but wipe down the safety instruction sheet as well.

  49. Sparkel

    Funny you should mention that because I am in a battle with them right now over this same issue. Flew AA and tray tables were no where near wiped down or clean. I had to ask for a sanitizer wipe they were holding for the first class passengers as they did it disburse them to us.

  50. Sarah

    I just used them a few days ago. Found gum stuck to my seat. Overall the plane looked pretty dirty and the amount of time they have between unloading the previous flight and loading the new flight...is very obvious they don't actually clean.

  51. Barb Danyi

    On our flight with American, I opened a sealed bag with my blanket in it. After opening the blanket, there was a wad of chewed chewing gum matted inside the blanket.

    I showed the flight attendant and asked for another blanket as well as asking her to remove the blanket that I had. She said she would be right back. She never returned with the fresh blanket, nor did she take the blanket with the chewed wad of gum in it.

  52. Jennifer Johnson

    I have taken American airlines many times and actually like American airlines over delta hands down. Delta is over rated for the price i was really disappointed in the experience with Delta. I will take America airlines any day over Delta.

  53. Michael Haddad

    AA is definitely underperforming.

  54. Michael Haddad

    Flew home from LGA yesterday in FC. The plane was dirty.MY seat has crumbs in it and side pocket had food in it. Pretty gross.

  55. ROBERT J FAHR

    "...there’s a disconnect between how American thinks planes are being cleaned, and how they’re actually being cleaned." They know. They just do not care. Any PR about how they clean planes is all theatre.

  56. DuttyPlane

    I am a flight attendant, and my airline has stopped cleaning the planes during the day. Flight attendants are to quickly check seat back pockets to remove trash, but that’s it it. Overnight the plane Lav gets a quick wipe down, and that’s about it. No more sanitizing anything, or “fogging”. Meanwhile our website still states that we sanitize between every flight. I’m just waiting for the lawsuit to role in.

  57. Sue McClean

    Please people quit whining. Housekeeping is at an all time low. Do you want to refer someone? Humble yourself.

  58. Stephanie Livers

    I always fly American, and I have Never had a bad experience with cleanliness. I know they don't have time between flights to deep clean, but I believe they do well as far as trash being picked up, a quick wipe down etc. People need to give them a break! If you expect a deep clean and sanitization, you need to give them more time between flights to get it done. I love American Airlines and will always fly with them.

  59. Black Queen

    Yall complain about delay flights, lil trash, toe nail, omg what's so hard about asking if it could be clean pretty sure it one the planes that we couldn't get to because there trying to make sure your on time. It's been hard on us. I love my job cleaning and making sure it's ready for you.

  60. Black Queen

    We do our best to make sure flights are clean and all trash is gone we work hard to provide a clean and comfortable for you to fly out. Just because they provide cleaner's stop being so nasty it's people who fly and stick gum on seat's, lord knows everything else we clean.. American airlines got yall to spoil hell. Then ultra cleans planes with a butter knife and toothbrush getting crumbs out of cracks...

    We do our best to make sure flights are clean and all trash is gone we work hard to provide a clean and comfortable for you to fly out. Just because they provide cleaner's stop being so nasty it's people who fly and stick gum on seat's, lord knows everything else we clean.. American airlines got yall to spoil hell. Then ultra cleans planes with a butter knife and toothbrush getting crumbs out of cracks and seats replace everything. Lil trash in seat we do 200 planes maybe more quick turns 10 min to clean and get trash fix seat belts do laboratory and galleys with sometimes a crew of 4 or 5. Give us credit for sweating and back hurting to provide you with a clean flight.

  61. Lillie Gold

    Pre-pandemic, I'd flight an average of 6 to 8 times a yr. And not once, did I encounter my seat area fully clean. Then I try last Dec, right before Christmas & on a "red-eye" flight & again, I fully cleaned & disinfected my area & the seat area next to me, to my standarts. I think ALL airlines do the best they can, according to whom they hire to do the job & it...

    Pre-pandemic, I'd flight an average of 6 to 8 times a yr. And not once, did I encounter my seat area fully clean. Then I try last Dec, right before Christmas & on a "red-eye" flight & again, I fully cleaned & disinfected my area & the seat area next to me, to my standarts. I think ALL airlines do the best they can, according to whom they hire to do the job & it is up to us, passengers to ensure our seating area is as clean as "we" would like it to be.

  62. Misc

    What passengers don't understand is we have a very limited number of employees and to do a thorough clean between flights is seemingly impossible. It takes hours to clean a plane, let alone several at the same time. Please keep in mind that we work in all conditions and unload your baggage and protect you. We are humans, not machines! Honestly, it is no different then restaurants, movie theaters, gas stations or your own home, nothing is 100% clean.

  63. Judie Jones

    On July 17th I flew American Airlines and was disgusted at the filth and debris in my seat. From getting on in Anchorage, AK. I noticed both the back of the seat in front of me had something spilled which was also on my tray. I asked the flight attendant to clean it and she walked back to me with a disinfectant wipe for me to clean it. I paid for the flight and I’m...

    On July 17th I flew American Airlines and was disgusted at the filth and debris in my seat. From getting on in Anchorage, AK. I noticed both the back of the seat in front of me had something spilled which was also on my tray. I asked the flight attendant to clean it and she walked back to me with a disinfectant wipe for me to clean it. I paid for the flight and I’m the one that has to clean the mess. I’m paying them to clean their plane?. Something very wrong about that scenario. On my flight from Dallas to Cleveland there was garbage in the mesh holder on the seat in front of me. American Airlines is charging me to clean their planes filth. What a bunch of B.S.

  64. VX_Flier

    Do you really believe anything *any* airline says or claims regarding Sanitation? Seriously?

    If you do, I dare you to drink half a glass of water from any bathroom faucet on any aircraft. (Tip: DON’T)

    1. Eskimo

      But the question is, is the glass half full or half empty?

  65. Eclause

    Do you want a spic n span plane or make your connection. I fly several times a month and that seat back photo is an anomaly in my opinion. Have no idea what that "first class seat" picture is ... looks like inside of the tray table storage. Bottom line, object is to disinfect not vacuum.

  66. SM Gardner

    I think the cabin cleaning crew is spending their time sanitizing the surfaces rather than cleaning the seat pockets and such. They have the same amount of time, but have had to switch their focus to wiping down surfaces now.

  67. Martin Lindenfeld

    I have flown AA pre and during Covid, and never have I seen anything like this. I have always found the seats to be clean and now with Covid I find them even shinier!

  68. JB

    A family member of mine utilizes an electric scooter which is gate checked before getting onto the plane. On arrival, the chair is supposed to be brought up to the jet bridge right to the door of the plane. It usually doesn't take a while, but for the past few months, we've been having some back to back issues with AA where the chair is either being brought to the wrong place or takes a...

    A family member of mine utilizes an electric scooter which is gate checked before getting onto the plane. On arrival, the chair is supposed to be brought up to the jet bridge right to the door of the plane. It usually doesn't take a while, but for the past few months, we've been having some back to back issues with AA where the chair is either being brought to the wrong place or takes a really long time (we've been flying ATL-MIA back and forth, having issues at both airports). There have been three instances in the last three months where they deplaned the entire plane and we were still there. The FA's let us stay (and even offer us snacks and drinks) and let the cleaning crew come in. They work around us and they pick up visible trash, fix the seatbelts, vacuum, but only sometimes do they wipe down the seat and tray table (with the same cloth for all seats). But they never clean that storage compartment in First or the setback pocket. I noticed that some cleaning crews were more particular than others in terms of fixing the seat and setback pocket contents. But it was still mostly similar to how they cleaned pre pandemic. But they surely weren't "sanitizing" it fully (I'm in Healthcare, so I have a different definition and expectation). Two of those three times, the cleaning crew was wrapping up and the scooter still hadn't arrived, so we had to leave the plane with their wheelchair. Each time we got off, the next flight info on the board showed boarding was about to begin. That means the cleaning crew of 4 only had about 10-12 minutes to clean the 180+ seat 737-800/A321, which definitely does not seem like enough time, which is why I don't blame the cleaning crews in these instances. I still think wiping down the seat yourself is still something you should do (which I admittedly thought was a bit excessive pre-pandemic)

  69. Disgusted with my fellow passengers

    I put a lot of this on the passengers themselves. Nowhere else do people leave such a mess behind as they do on a plane. Who sticks trash in the magazine pocket? That's not what it's there for. When the flight attendant comes around, get it out of there and put it in the trash bag that they are carrying. Don't throw your trash on the floor and expect somebody else to pick it up....

    I put a lot of this on the passengers themselves. Nowhere else do people leave such a mess behind as they do on a plane. Who sticks trash in the magazine pocket? That's not what it's there for. When the flight attendant comes around, get it out of there and put it in the trash bag that they are carrying. Don't throw your trash on the floor and expect somebody else to pick it up. You don't do this at home, or a restaurant, or any other business, why do you feel that it's okay on a plane? So when you get on a dirty plane, blame the passengers before you. Haul trashy passengers, get trashy airplanes.

    1. Disgusted Maid

      And, if you think that airline passengers are the worst, hotel guests definitely have them beaten, hands down. You would not believe some of the things I've seen!

      Maids at 5-star hotels are given 30 minutes to change bedding, clean and sanitized bathrooms, vacuum carpet, dust all furniture & cobwebs. You get the picture.

      I'd rather sleep in a dirty airplane than a "cleaned" hotel room any day!

      ...(3 years employed in housekeeping. Don't drink from their glasses)

    2. Bagoly

      Not to disagree with your recommendation, but one explanation is that space is very limited on a 'plane - there is no trash-can available, so it requires "put trash somewhere, then move to bag going past" rather than "put trash in bag".
      When delayed, the flight crew sometimes don't do a trash-collecting run just before landing.
      Most of this is on passengers, but the airlines could help by thinking through buy-on-board options so...

      Not to disagree with your recommendation, but one explanation is that space is very limited on a 'plane - there is no trash-can available, so it requires "put trash somewhere, then move to bag going past" rather than "put trash in bag".
      When delayed, the flight crew sometimes don't do a trash-collecting run just before landing.
      Most of this is on passengers, but the airlines could help by thinking through buy-on-board options so that the packaging that remains after consumption is not going to create a mess when you are in the middle seat, and the passenger in the window seat needs to get past you to go to the toilet.

  70. Ben

    Why are you always picking on American Airlines. I guarantee you you go to Airlines like spirit, and United and they are just as dirty

  71. Anthony

    It is really simple to determine the between flight cleaning process. Just sit towards the front of the plane and watch the cleaning staff clean the front rows of the plane. They come on often before the all passengers deplane.

  72. Brunnie

    Well this is between flights, but i flew once on an airline (not AA) first flight of the day and side and tray table were not cleaned at all, so it might not been only 1 airline but multiple of them.

  73. Sel, D.

    At least AA isn't handing out noxious sanitizing wipes like United. I've had to board last and pray nobody opens one - I think they use some sort of bleach & alcohol combination that makes me sick. The AA wipes aren't terribly odorous.

  74. Douglas Frost DeNunzio

    The issue of correct English Channel of the old opals to nyc on 27O from Paris DeGaulle from the internet on my old house at Terrace Avenue.

  75. Joseph Selmser

    First time flying AA in at least 8 years. I quite there program due to horrible customer service. Nothing has changed, if not worse. I flew first class from LAS to MIA and notnonly dealt with a lost stroller but the dirtiest flight I have flown on in abput a decade (minus my Pakistan airlines flight). Seat had crumbs on it, pockets had trash monitor control was sticky. I was quite shocked after hearing about...

    First time flying AA in at least 8 years. I quite there program due to horrible customer service. Nothing has changed, if not worse. I flew first class from LAS to MIA and notnonly dealt with a lost stroller but the dirtiest flight I have flown on in abput a decade (minus my Pakistan airlines flight). Seat had crumbs on it, pockets had trash monitor control was sticky. I was quite shocked after hearing about all these sanitizing and cleaning procedures from AA. And first class, I can imagine how economy looked. Last time for probably another decade youll catch me in an AA flight.

  76. Donna

    I’m not surprised by this given the problems the airlines are having with staffing. I’m sure these cleaning companies they contract with have the same issues.

    Prior to the pandemic, I noticed dirty planes mostly during irregular operations which was understandable. Frankly I’d rather fly with the trash than get delayed another hour for the cleanup crew. A pick your poison proposition.

  77. Tracy

    I recently flew the budget flight Spirit this past July for a East-West coast round trip. Flying with children, I always keep antibacterial wipes on hand. I wiped down our tray tables and arm rests, and the white wipe was BLACK! It wasn't a little dusty/dirty it was extremely dirty. Even if they cleaned once a week, it wouldn't have accumulated that much gunk. I agree, you totally get what you pay for! But...These airlines...

    I recently flew the budget flight Spirit this past July for a East-West coast round trip. Flying with children, I always keep antibacterial wipes on hand. I wiped down our tray tables and arm rests, and the white wipe was BLACK! It wasn't a little dusty/dirty it was extremely dirty. Even if they cleaned once a week, it wouldn't have accumulated that much gunk. I agree, you totally get what you pay for! But...These airlines were given HUGE bailouts with millions of dollars. Your telling me they couldn't have put some extra employees to work cleaning with those extra funds?

  78. Stephen

    Sanitized and Clean are two different words.

    Spray that stuff with alcohol or bleach and there are no bugs on it. Boom, sanitized.

    Clean it up. Boom, clean.

    Similarly you can wash your peanut butter hands in hand sanitizer and they will still cause an anaphylaxis reaction in a peanut allergic person as they are free of bugs not peanut protein.

    I think that word does not mean what you think it means.

    1. CBDDS

      While in Dental School (decades ago) there was lots of emphasis on understanding sterility and safety. Sterility is almost impossible. sanitizing surfaces has little meaning. Sterility starts with cleaning, a surface can not be rendered sterile before dirt is gone.

  79. Dorie

    Forget about the promise of “cleaning between flights”! American has a new “Top It Off” program which means a *few* new supplies are added for customers between flights while NOT removing old supplies. It also means that TRASH is not regularly removed between flights!!! No matter what excuse is given for these actions, it is COMPLETELY UNSAFE and UNSANITARY especially in light of the increase of the more contagious Delta variant Covid. The bottom line...

    Forget about the promise of “cleaning between flights”! American has a new “Top It Off” program which means a *few* new supplies are added for customers between flights while NOT removing old supplies. It also means that TRASH is not regularly removed between flights!!! No matter what excuse is given for these actions, it is COMPLETELY UNSAFE and UNSANITARY especially in light of the increase of the more contagious Delta variant Covid. The bottom line is MONEY and not Crew or Customer safety!

  80. Paul Smith

    Thank you for bringing light to this issue

    It’s an absolute joke, AA is lying to its customers and employees. I can assure you crew members workspaces are not cleaned like they tell you guys.
    At the end of the day it’s all about D0 and as long as the plane leave the gate on time with no catering, no bags loaded, no cleaning and no working lavatories, all is well in AAs books....

    Thank you for bringing light to this issue

    It’s an absolute joke, AA is lying to its customers and employees. I can assure you crew members workspaces are not cleaned like they tell you guys.
    At the end of the day it’s all about D0 and as long as the plane leave the gate on time with no catering, no bags loaded, no cleaning and no working lavatories, all is well in AAs books.

    At least with United they know they have issues but are working to change them

    AA knows they are shit but does nothing about it

    1. Donato

      Not exactly true. Catering does cause delays. We were AA ex MIA to NYC. The delay was announced because of defective oven needed for first Class. This was a two hour delay with no weather issues at MIA.

  81. Connor

    The person.who has said they only have between.45 min to clean a plane is true.i worked for a company that does it.and yes there is not enoghh time to clean planes between.flight. blame the airlines. 15 to 20 minutes is not. Enough time to clean a plane when the next flight leaves in 30.min or a late plane

  82. Allie

    I am flying American for the first time in a long time next week only because Delta doesn't fly into my destination, It was either American or SWA ( which has become a joke). I used to fly American every where and had the points to show for it. But long before the Pandemic, I had nothing but bad experiences with them and finally used up my points and closed my card. I started flying...

    I am flying American for the first time in a long time next week only because Delta doesn't fly into my destination, It was either American or SWA ( which has become a joke). I used to fly American every where and had the points to show for it. But long before the Pandemic, I had nothing but bad experiences with them and finally used up my points and closed my card. I started flying Delta because they had a non stop to St Paul, Minneapolis where family lived and I have to say...going on 13 years now, I have never had a bad experience with them... and I fly a lot. Within the last six months I've had four trips with them. I'm not saying they are perfect, because obviously from some comments they aren't, but my experiences have been so good, I have written to the company each time. Oh, BTW, I don't fly first class. After reading some of the comments, maybe I better take some extra wipes with me on my American flight next week.

  83. Kay

    That is true. There is No Way that planes are cleaned between flights unless a "big mess" is seen. And they do a quick cleaning at nite. I know I worked for American

  84. D3kingg

    There is a job shortage. Airlines are running at full capacity. People are only human. Some passengers are out of touch with reality.

  85. Andrew

    That's what happens when you contract out the work. No over site, low pay and no benefits.

    1. Gil

      True..very true. Yet these companies are making a fortune.

  86. Frank

    I just flew on a 777 domestic and my seat was disgusting. There were finger marks on the screens, crumbs everywhere, spilled coffee. Horrible.
    Last week same thing.

  87. Debra G

    Sounds like the best option is to take the first flight of the day...

  88. Corky

    My wife used to work for another airline. I always thought it funny that their (contracted) cleaning crew was called "Aircraft Appearance ". Guess it only matters that it LOOKS clean.

  89. Renee

    To be quite honest I worked for American Airlines cleaning their planes between flights and they don't give you entough time to do the cleaning they are stating is done. The cleaners have about 10 minutes to get on and off planes or they are coded a delay. Planes are given a total of 45 minutes turn around time. That means from arrival to departure gate agents have 45 minutes to get the plane in and out.

  90. Mark

    This has happened to me on all airlines. Recently I was on a delta flight out of lga and seatback was full of trash. What I don't understand about this and sites like it, it's always everything about AA sucks and everything about Delta is amazing. I personally have had horrible experiences, the worst on Delta and took a three year period where I just won't fly them, so I really don't understand the constant banging on AA versus Delta.

    1. Paul C

      Lol. Perhaps because American sucks consistently and I’m so many categories, while Delta sucks sporadically.

      Follow industry benchmarking metrics and do the math. The numbers don’t lie

  91. Regis

    Airlines feel that if they take you from point A to point B in one piece that have done their jobs. Up to the passenger to bring their own food, entertainment, blankett, pillows and now it seem their own cleaning and sanitization.

  92. Ryan

    If I get to my seat and see a mess like that, I notify the FA and politely ask that it be cleaned before I sit down in and before we depart.

  93. THEsocalledfan

    Plane have always been dirty, and they will be dirty. Further, the myth that COVID-19 spreads through contact with dirty surfaces, is just that a myth. (see CDC if you don't believe me) In short, who cares?

    1. Adele

      At some point, it’s not about COVID at all. If I saw something like that 2 years ago, I would have had the same response - it’s disgusting and should not tolerated from any business. In a plane, in an Uber, in a restaurant, in a retail store - trash should be in the bin, not on the floor, tables, chairs, random pockets or drawers.

    2. Maria Flor

      Airlines ought to clean between each flights, is elementary for the safety of passenger s and the Crew.
      There are no excuses.
      The airline has one hour break enough to do it, between flights.
      I worked in an Airline for 34years.
      There is no excuse.
      If they don't do it. Because they are the worst airline.

  94. Gary Leff

    Saw a photo a couple of days ago of an American first class seat with toenail clippings in it, first flight of the morning, there was plenty of time to tidy overnight. (And let's leave aside who is clipping their toenails inflight and leaving those on the seat.)

    1. Jim

      If passenger is clipping their toenails on a plane, that says a lot more about the passenger than the airline.

    2. KenP

      Toenail clippings? Yep, in my 40 years of flying, I've seen that several times in First Class and each time no one cares. So it's nothing new. What's new is having the mess not get cleaned up overnight.

    3. Laura Schwab

      People are gross and disrespectful....

  95. 305

    “ I was told that any customer who has experienced issues with aircraft cleanliness should send their feedback to American Airlines customer relations”

    Why even bother? You’ll just get a generic, one-size-fits-all “I actually didn’t read this” response.

    1. Anonymous

      Hi how are you all! So American Airlines planes are cleaned by a contracting company called G2. In Rush times and in between boarding and unboarding, the cleaners are rushed to the plane, where they remove trash, disinfect surfaces & wipe down. Restocked pillows and sheets removing and discarding the dirty. They also vacuum thoroughly. Yes at night the planes go through a deep deep clean. That pocket with the trash, is all on G2...

      Hi how are you all! So American Airlines planes are cleaned by a contracting company called G2. In Rush times and in between boarding and unboarding, the cleaners are rushed to the plane, where they remove trash, disinfect surfaces & wipe down. Restocked pillows and sheets removing and discarding the dirty. They also vacuum thoroughly. Yes at night the planes go through a deep deep clean. That pocket with the trash, is all on G2 supervisor when they double-check that the cleaners did their job. They missed a seat back pocket, which is quite unusual since they do test screens. Will they will hide objects in the plane for the cleaners to find to make sure they're cleaning everywhere. I know for a fact the cleaners are very very thorough. The only time the planes could possibly be a mess is on those quick turnarounds, short staff and a huge rush.

      Thank you
      Anonymous

  96. Eskimo

    Even during the peak last year, sanitized does not equal to cleanliness.

    You can dip trash in 70% alcohol and it's sanitized but it's still trash.

    1. Joseph

      If you dip a LUS A321 in alcohol and it’s still trash.

    2. Eskimo

      To be fair to LUS, maybe try dipping "Oasis" too?

    3. Crystal

      I worked for the sub contractor who was responsible for cleaning in our small but ski popular destination. Many times we didn't have time to do more than pick up newspapers - big trash. One person was assigned to each of the Lavs & barely had time to clean the mirror swipe the seat & grab trash. Many times the inbound flight was late arriving so turning the flight was crazy fast to try to...

      I worked for the sub contractor who was responsible for cleaning in our small but ski popular destination. Many times we didn't have time to do more than pick up newspapers - big trash. One person was assigned to each of the Lavs & barely had time to clean the mirror swipe the seat & grab trash. Many times the inbound flight was late arriving so turning the flight was crazy fast to try to get back on time. Many times we were rolling thru the aircraft when they started boarding! We bailed out the back door of the aircraft knowing it wasn't up to standard but helpless yo do anything about it. We worked hard & fast but never good enough. Evening had time to completely clean the aircraft that stayed over night but again that was raced thru to cut our time instead of a clean plane. We worked quickly to get as much done well before told to stop. Maybe it's different now I don't know as I haven't worked cleaning planes in quite awhile. I don't think things have changed much based on the flights I've taken over the years. I now fly a different carrier & much cleaner aircraft.

    4. Roland Ortega

      I worked for American for 21 years and they never thougroly cleaned the planes between flights they just did surface cleaning and because that what they have been doing for eons they continue doing it they don't care about the pandemic they just care about money so real cleaning is out of the picture since their competitors don't do it either in fact they do it less that is why no airline does it it cost their bottom line so no airline does it

Featured Comments Load all 113 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Kay

That is true. There is No Way that planes are cleaned between flights unless a "big mess" is seen. And they do a quick cleaning at nite. I know I worked for American

Eskimo

Even during the peak last year, sanitized does not equal to cleanliness. You can dip trash in 70% alcohol and it's sanitized but it's still trash.

Laura Schwab

People are gross and disrespectful....

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