In that long-ago time before the pandemic, most travelers chose an airline based on a single, straightforward factor: price. And those who didn’t grab the cheapest fare typically steered their business toward a carrier where they had frequent-flyer miles. Cleanliness, by contrast, barely registered.
These days, hygiene is the most important factor in choosing a travel company for almost 60% of Americans, according to a survey by aerospace products manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. That tracks with International Air Transport Association data showing that passengers worry about boarding planes, with 42% of them uncomfortable using lavatories and more than a third concerned about breathing recirculated cabin air. “We know that our customers are more conscious than ever about hygiene,” says Anil Jain, engineering chief at Air India Express, which has introduced robots to clean its planes. “We need to be proactive.”
Gone are the days when airlines could get away with quickly picking up the trash and wiping down the galley between flights, doing a deep cleaning only once a month or so. As the pandemic sent revenue into a tailspin in the spring of 2020, most carriers stepped up their hygiene game in hopes of convincing travelers that it’s safe to fly. They began touting their hospital-grade HEPA filtration systems that bring in fresh air every few minutes. And many planes now get a serious cleanse every day with virus-killing chemicals, antibacterial foggers, electrostatic sprayers, or ultraviolet lights that zap germs. But with the omicron variant of the coronavirus wreaking havoc worldwide as the pandemic enters its third year, consumer fears about cleanliness are spiking again.
A UV light wand is used to disinfect the cockpit of a Boeing plane
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Bet On It
A Silicon Valley-backed startup wants to bring Wall Street-style trading to the outcome of events. Some regulators say that’s a terrible idea
You're Browsing All Wrong
A startup wants to discard the standard formula for the web browser
Killer Heat Is Here
The record temperatures ravaging India are a warning of global catastrophes to come
Opening the Spigot
Conservatives want to limit social media companies’ power to control content
Expanding Access to Mind Expansion
Companies offer guided drug trips on jungle retreats, at city clinics, and in your living room
Europe's Travel Rebound Wobbles
A staffing crisis at airlines, airports, and even the Chunnel left some operators overwhelmed
Genetic testing companies promise they can predict an embryo’s probable future health. Some parents don’t want to stop there
Are We Still Doing Scooters?
Lime says people are scooting more than ever, but providing urban transit is a hard way to make unicorn-level profits
"You Know What's Cool?"
Facebook has spent a decade successfully ripping off its newer, hotter rivals. But this time, it tried to copy TikTok and blew up Instagram instead
Pivoting to Troll
Elon Musk’s incessant posting may do wonders for his ego and clout in right-wing circles, but it has destroyed value pretty much everywhere else
Tom Cruise: MAN ON A MISSION
THE ACTOR STOPPED AT NOTHING TO MAKE M:1 7 AND 8 AND TOP GUN: MAVERICK. NOW HE'S FEELING THE PRESSURE.
HOW POLITICS POISONED THE CHURCH
THE EVANGELICAL MOVEMENT SPENT 40 YEARS AT WAR WITH SECULAR AMERICA. NOW IT'S AT WAR WITH ITSELF.
A dairy farming father's love for his family lives on in the tools that he left behind.
AIRBNB Allows Employees to Live and Work From Anywhere
Airbnb will allow its employees to live and work almost anywhere around the world, fully embracing a remote work policy to attract staff and ensure flexibility.
An Overview of Namibia's Agri Sector
In a recent report, the Namibia Agricultural Union outlined the state of that country’s agriculture sector, and how it has been affected by COVID-19 and other factors.
Critics call on Chinese government to ease lockdown regulations
a GOOD READ
James Read is a far cry from his villainous alter ego on DAYS.
VOICES AS TOLD TO LIFE'S Work
Better Things creator and star PAMELA ADLON on how the show gave her an OPPORTUNITY to REINVENT some things about the way HOLLYWOOD operates-both on-screen and off
Meghan's LIFE WITHOUT HARRY
Nearly four years after their royal wedding, the fairy tale appears to be over for Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle
AMAZON ADDS 5% ‘FUEL AND INFLATION SURCHARGE' TO SELLER FEES
Amazon is taking a step to off set its rising costs, announcing this week it will add a 5% “fuel and inflation surcharge” to fees it charges thirdparty sellers who use the e-commerce giant’s fulfillment services.