In the last blog I shared all about masks, and how they are a primary factor in keeping meeting planners and attendees safe from COVID-19. Now we’re going to talk about another safety factor concerning cabin air.
Though a crowded plane seems like the perfect environment for spreading the virus, the risk is quite a bit lower than one might think. In fact, the Aerospace and International Airline Medical Associations have found that the risk of contracting the virus during air travel is lower than work, school, running errands or while on other forms of transportation like trains and buses.
The air circulated in modern airplanes is very clean! It is recycled through HEPA filters, the same filters used in hospitals. These filters capture more than 99% of viruses and bacteria. Air flow is another factor, flowing from ceiling to floor then exiting via the floor grilles located near the same seat and nearby rows where entered. Air, therefore, is not being circulated throughout the entire aircraft, but in a much smaller area.
Interestingly, HEPA filters actually become more effective with time. While they will eventually need to be changed, usually between 12 – 18 months, any particulates collected on the surface serve to provide additional filtration. The filters become even more important in the case a passenger is identified as potentially infected during the flight. Keep in mind, the filters are 99% plus effective at removing the virus and bacteria particulates BEFORE the air is recirculated back into the cabin.
Other initiatives airlines have put in place include temperature taking, asking passengers about any symptoms before being allowed in the gate area, increased cabin cleaning between flights, contactless boarding/baggage processing and more.
When communicating with your attendees, make it a point to not only share the information stated above, but also advise them of their part in keeping travel and fellow passengers safe:
- Do not travel if not feeling well, stay in place if not feeling well.
- Report anyone showing signs of illness.
- Practice social distancing when possible.
- When using the overhead air nozzle, keep it pointed at the head and turn it up to the highest setting.
- Follow the crew’s instructions!
- And, of course, wear a mask, avoid touching the face, thoroughly was hands and/or use hand sanitizer.
Hooray for our amazing industry! Once again, we rise to the occasion and place the safety of all at the top of our ever growing to do lists. Great job, meeting planners!