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Coronavirus (COVID-19): What we’re doing to keep customers and employees safe

The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve rapidly. The safety of our customers and employees is and always will be our top priority.

Our teams are in daily contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), federal agencies and other global health organizations to share the most up-to-the-minute information. What’s more, United has a team of in-house medical experts, including an industrial hygienist who reviews and tests cleaning products and a corporate medical team who are on-call, around the clock. United is also partners with MedAire, an organization that gives crewmembers ready access to an emergency department doctor for advice and assistance.

The dynamic nature of this outbreak requires us to be nimble and flexible in how we respond, provide service and protect our customers and employees. Here are some of the ways we are taking action — we’ll continue to update this post periodically as new details are available.

Change fee waiver

  • We’re waiving change fees for any bookings — domestic and international — made between March 3 and March 31, 2020.
  • The waiver applies to all tickets, all fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale and all travel dates available for sale.
  • For more information visit https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notices.html.

Aircraft cleaning

  • All aircraft are cleaned at a variety of touchpoints throughout the day.
    • The cleaning procedure for flights includes a thorough wipe-down of all hard surfaces touched by customers and employees — lavatories, galleys, tray tables, window shades and armrests.
    • United uses an effective, high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner.
    • When we are advised by the CDC of an employee or customer who has traveled onboard and who is potentially exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, that aircraft is taken out of service and sent through a full decontamination process that includes our standard cleaning procedures plus washing ceilings and overhead bins and scrubbing the interior.
  • United aircraft are equipped with state-of-the-art circulation systems, similar to those found in hospitals, which use a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter to circulate the air and removes up to 99.7% of airborne particles.
  • Soon, we will start using an electrostatic fogger to disinfect the air and surfaces within the cabin on all international arrivals into our U.S. Hubs, Honolulu and Guam.

In flight

  • To limit person-to-person contamination, we have instituted the following procedures on board:
    • We have stopped refilling used cups and glasses in all cabins. If a customer requests a refill, our flight attendants will provide a new cup or glass.
    • Customers may now see flight attendants wearing gloves during food and beverage service as well as during pickup, in all cabins.
    • Our flight attendants will hand all beverages directly to the customer, instead of allowing the customer to take their own from the tray.
  • All tableware, dishes, cutlery, carts and glassware are washed and sanitized.
  • We’ve added supplies for our crews on segments flown to Alert Level 2 zones* and upward: gloves, masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, sani-com wipes, foaming hand soap, and disinfectant wipes as supply becomes available.

In airports

  • Providing hand sanitizer for use in our crew and break rooms, lounges and gates.
  • Ensuring regular disinfection of common surfaces inside our airport terminals.

What you can do

According to the CDC, the National Safety Council, and the WHO:

  • Wash your hands often – and thoroughly – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content is a good secondary option
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands
  • Use gloves and masks as needed
  • Get a flu shot if you haven’t already
  • If you’re sick – stay home

How to stay informed

For more detailed information about COVID-19, how it spreads and prevention and treatment please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

Also, the CDC has updated their country index page where you can find up-to-date COVID-19 risk assessments by country.