American Airlines is taking several new actions as it continues to focus on the well-being and safety of customers and team members.
Travel Health Advisory Panel
American is creating a new Travel Health Advisory Panel including Vanderbilt University Medical Center to advise on health and cleaning matters as travelers return over the summer.
The panel will include Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts Dr. David Aronoff, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Thomas Talbot, Chief Hospital Epidemiologist, who are national leaders in the field of infectious diseases prevention. These experts will provide American with the latest information from public health authorities and scientific research as well as advice and guidance on disease prevention, cleaning procedures and other public health matters, so that American can continue to improve and innovate cleaning procedures to make sure customers feel safe in the skies. The panel also includes other American Airlines safety and operations experts.
“We’re pleased to have access to new guidance on infectious diseases and best practices from the experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center,” said Alison Taylor, American’s Chief Customer Officer. “Drs. Aronoff and Talbot will be an important part of our decision-making process on issues including cleaning, health screening, and best practices.”
“We are proud to be advising a worldwide aviation leader like American Airlines as it works diligently to bring a new level of health and safety to the skies. As part of the Travel Health Advisory Panel, our infectious disease experts are working closely with leaders at American to help them identify and apply COVID-19 safety and infection prevention best practices for their team members and passengers around the world,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The new panel complements American’s existing work with its medical director Dr. Stan Miller, and its ongoing consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other outside experts.
GBAC STAR Accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council
American also announced that it is working with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for GBAC STARTM Accreditation (GBAC STAR) for its fleet of aircraft and customer lounges. GBAC STAR Accreditation demonstrates that proper cleaning and disinfection work practices, procedures and systems are in place to prepare for, respond to and recover from pandemics. Each element in the program has specific performance and guidance criteria. American is the first airline to seek GBAC STAR accreditation, and expects to receive full accreditation by the end of 2020 for its entire fleet and lounges.
GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. It includes experts in microbial-pathogenic threat analysis and mitigation, and is designed specifically to deal with biological threats such as coronavirus (COVID-19).
COVID-19 symptom checklist for travelers
In May, American began requiring all customers and team members on board to wear a face covering unless there is a medical reason why they cannot. And earlier this month American said it would limit flight privileges for customers who refuse to wear a face covering without a medical reason. Face masks are also required for customers throughout their journey at most of American’s hub airports, and American continues to encourage airports to make this the standard. Wearing a face covering continues to be one of the most important ways travelers can protect themselves and others while flying.
In addition, beginning June 30, American will begin asking customers during the check-in process to certify that they have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for the past 14 days. American worked with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to develop the COVID-19 symptom checklist for each customer using self-service machines in airports or during online check-in at home. American has also been actively engaged with recent efforts by the industry trade group Airlines for America to put customer well-being first.
“Our customers trust us to make every aspect of their journey safe. We won’t let them down,” Taylor said. “We will continue to refine and update our practices based on the latest information from health authorities and our own Travel Health Advisory Panel.”
American’s Clean Commitment has multiple layers
The Travel Health Advisory Panel and GBAC STAR Accreditation build on American’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its customers and team members. American has implemented multiple layers of protection for customers that include clean airports and airplanes, looking out for the health of team members, and requirements for customers to wear face coverings.
American disinfects every aircraft, including hand-cleaning seat buckles, seats, tray tables and other surfaces. The airline also applies an electrostatic spray inside the aircraft every seven days which kills 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria within 10 minutes. American is the only network airline to use a product on EPA List N which provides continued seven-day protection against bacteria, mold, and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. And the HEPA filtration system on board American’s fleet provides a complete air change every two to four minutes, similar to the standard for hospitals.
American has also expanded the frequency of cleaning in airport areas under its control, including gate areas, ticket counters, passenger services counters, baggage service offices and team member rooms. Customers on many flights receive sanitizing wipes or gel, and American has limited food and beverage delivery to reduce interactions between flight attendants and customers.
Notifications to customers booked on more crowded flights
As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are booked to capacity starting July 1. American will continue to notify customers and allow them to move to more open flights when available, all without incurring any cost. This is in addition to the airline’s current travel waivers. Additional details regarding travel waivers can be found below and on aa.com/travelalerts.
If space is available once boarding is complete — taking into consideration any aircraft weight or balance restrictions — customers may move to another seat within their ticketed cabin subject to availability.
Flexibility for customers
American is providing customers additional flexibility for travel by extending its offer to waive change fees. This offer applies to tickets that meet the following criteria:
- Any ticket for travel through Sept. 30, 2020, will not incur change fees prior to travel. Customers must pay any fare difference, if applicable, at time of ticketing of the new fare. Fare rules may apply depending on the ticket.
- All AAdvantage® award tickets are included in this offer.
- Customers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this offer.
- Travel must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.
AAdvantage elite members receive vacation credit
The airline is also awarding eligible AAdvantage elite members with a special credit of up to $400 to use toward an American Airlines Vacations package. Effective July 1, this previously announced credit can be used for any vacation package booked with a U.S. point of origin. Members can learn more by visiting aavacations.com and by looking for the personalized notification about their award in their AAdvantage account Promotions Center beginning July 14.