As Emirates resumes flights today, each flight will feature a CSA. Since there are no showers for the CSAs to oversee, they will instead ensure that lavatories are cleaned at intervals of 45 minutes throughout the flight.
This should be reassuring to many passengers. Most studies show that airplane cabins aren’t as unsafe as some might assume, and few cases have been traced back to airplanes:
- Airlines have improved cleaning protocols between flights
- Airplanes have air filters that are generally safer than most other indoor spaces
- You’re typically not sitting face-to-face with others on planes
- Mandatory face masks on planes provide an added layer of protection
One major concern is lavatories, given that it can be hard to clean them during the flight, and they’re heavily used, making the surfaces risky.
Emirates is addressing that concern with this latest initiative.
Emirates is in the unique position to make this happen because they already had CSAs who would clean showers and even bathrooms in certain intervals. They’re essentially just shifting their responsibilities in a way that reflects the times.
However, it’s unlikely we’ll see similar initiatives at other airlines:
- At unionized airlines with contracts about duties of flight attendants, having to clean the lavatory is typically not part of the job description, and don’t expect that to change
- At some airlines we do see flight attendants sometimes refresh the lavatory every once in a while, but in general I’d expect that to decrease, given the risk for crew, and also the interaction they have with passengers