Meet Jen (far right) and her flight crew from Las Vegas, Nevada! Airline workers around the world have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. They have taken extreme precautions to ensure the safety of their passengers and crew, and have made adjustments as more information becomes known about the virus.
In the beginning, flight attendants like Jen were simply instructed to wash their hands often and use gloves. Their protocols later expanded to include use of hospital-grade disinfectant to clean commonly touched surfaces, continued use of HEPA filters to clean and purify the air, blocking off of seats to allow for social distancing, and mandatory mask wearing for all staff and passengers during the entire flight (except when eating or drinking). Before these changes were implemented, however, many airline workers fell ill; and sometimes entire crews at a time were diagnosed with COVID-19. Many required serious medical attention, and all were required to quarantine for 2 weeks. As a result of these frequent staff shortages, the non-sick employees soon became over-worked.
Currently, flight attendants like Jen and her crew are getting sick less often, but other unique challenges have arisen. Not only are they tasked with enforcing airline protocols, but they are also on the receiving end of passenger stress and anxiety. This often involves providing emotional support and reassurances, as well as mitigating disagreements between patrons.
According to the CDC, airline travel has now been downgraded to a “moderate” risk. We hope you’ll join us in extending a heartfelt “thank you” to the airline workers who keep flyers safe!