Today, United Airlines was recognized by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and SimpliFlying for providing a hospital-grade standard of cleanliness and safety during the travel journey. United is the first airline among the four largest U.S. carriers to receive the highest possible certification – Diamond – in the new APEX Health Safety audit powered by SimpliFlying. This new scientifically-based certification is designed to create a recognized, global standard for health and safety across the aviation industry.
“Since the start of this pandemic, United has been committed to pursuing industry leading safety measures to protect the wellbeing of our customers and employees,” said Sasha Johnson, United Airlines‘ vice president of Corporate Safety. “This recognition from APEX and SimpliFlying underscores that United will continue to innovate and raise the standard when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
To achieve this certification, United submitted detailed responses for audit against a 58-point checklist covering ten categories, including things like testing, contact tracing, on-the-ground procedures, in-flight measures, and strategic partnerships. For each cleaning and safety measure noted on the checklist, United shared proof points for further review by the APEX and SimpliFlying experts. United’s certification as a Diamond airline means that the company’s initiatives were at least 200 points above the gold-standard baseline APEX and SimpliFlying established as the minimum required to ensure passenger safety and well-being.
“United Airlines’ tremendous customer-centric investments definitively merited the Diamond level of health safety across a broad scoreboard of categories focused on passenger wellbeing,” APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader said. “We applaud United’s thought-leadership across key initiatives that have benefited both customers of United Airlines and the airline industry. Passengers and airline team members should be proud of United Airlines’ continuous advancements for customer wellbeing.”
The United CleanPlus program, which includes its partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic and Clorox, was one of the many efforts APEX and SimpliFlying cited when granting the airline this certification. Medical experts from the Cleveland Clinic have helped ensure United’s policies and protocols reflect the latest scientific guidance, and Clorox has helped the airline redefine disinfection procedures to support a healthier environment. Other efforts APEX and SimpliFlying called out when granting United this certification include:
- Use of Ultraviolet C (UV-C) light to disinfect sensitive components in the flight deck
- Installation of hand sanitizer dispensers onboard aircraft
- Application of Zoono Microbe Shield, an EPA registered antimicrobial coating, to United’s entire mainline and express fleet
United was also the first major U.S. airline to mandate masks for flight attendants, quickly following with all customers and employees. United was also among the first U.S. carriers to announce it wouldn’t permit customers who refused to comply with the airline’s mandatory mask policy to fly with them while the face mask policy is in place. United was also the first U.S. airline to roll out touchless check-in for customers with bags, and the first to require passengers take an online health assessment before traveling.