American Airlines To Give Face Masks, Sanitizing Wipes To Customers

American Airlines said that from early May, it will start distributing face masks and sanitizing wipes or gels to customers boarding its aircraft. The airline will also ask its flight attendants to wear protective masks during every mainline and regional flight from May 1.

American Airlines said its offering of personal protective equipment to customers will expand to all flights as supplies and operational conditions allow.

The airlines said it has added a drawer in the galley on every mainline flight that contains personal protective equipment, including masks for flight attendants and pilots, and other sanitizing items.

Improvements to cleaning procedures on board its flights will begin this week and will be expanded to every mainline as well as regional flight over time. The carrier will expand deeper cleanings and disinfection to all regional flights.

The airline also plans to step up cleaning procedures in customer areas to disinfect tray tables, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window shades and seatback screens. It will also include wiping door and overhead bin handles.

In crew member areas, the airline will implement enhanced galley cleaning and also clean jumpseats, crew rest seats as well as cockpit surfaces.

Airline labor unions have been demanding increased access for airline crew to personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic. Flight attendants have expressed concerns that they are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 while on their jobs.

Among other U.S. airlines, JetBlue said Sunday that all passengers on its flights would be required to wear face masks during travel, starting from May 4. The new policy, which made JetBlue the first major U.S. airline to enforce such a rule, came after the airline began requiring all crew members to wear face coverings while on duty.

United Airlines also requires its flight attendants to wear face masks on board flights.

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