AAA compiles new policies for travelers
By AAA of Western and Central New York
With pent-up demand for travel expected once the pandemic passes, many travelers will be anxious to vacation and check destinations off their bucket lists. Yet it’s only natural to wonder if hotels and airlines are safe and clean before venturing out on a trip.
AAA Western and Central New York has compiled this list for travelers to evaluate properties and understand what is being done to protect their health and safety. While travel right now is not advised, travelers who are considering future travel will want to verify that travel providers are taking a squeaky-clean approach to business.
Traveling with peace of mind is the best way to travel – curious travelers should work with their trusted AAA travel consultant before making travel arrangements so that all of their needs are met.
•Hilton Hotels (Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, HGI, Hampton Inns, Tru, Homewood Suites, Home2)
Our hotel teams are receiving ongoing briefings and enhanced operating protocols.
We have increased the frequency of cleaning our public areas (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, etc.) and have continued the use of hospital-grade disinfectants.
We will continue to adjust the food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations.
We have increased the deployment of hand sanitizers.
•Marriott Hotels (Ritz Carlton, Sheraton Delta, Courtyard, Four points, Fairfield Inn Springhill Suites, Residence Inn, Townplace, Element)
Guest rooms: Hotels use cleaning and disinfecting protocols to clean rooms after guests depart and before the next guest arrives, with particular attention paid to high-touch items.
Public spaces: Hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in public spaces, with a focus on the counter at the front desk, elevators and elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms, and even room keys.
Back of house: In the spaces where associates work “behind the scenes,” hotels are increasing the frequency of cleaning and focusing on high-touch areas like associate entrances, locker rooms, laundry rooms and staff offices.
Associates: supporting them with hygiene protocol, ongoing training and 24/7 support.
•Holiday Inn (Intercontinental, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Crown Plaza, Regent)
Activation of response teams to provide around-the-clock assistance to our hotels.
Hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning public areas (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms) and high-touch points in guest rooms. All hotels have been advised on cleaning products and protocols which are effective against viruses.
Comprehensive COVID-19 guidance is in place at Hyatt hotels globally, detailing how to protect against transmission of the virus (including implementing hand sanitizer stations and frequent cleaning of high-touch areas), and procedures in case there is a suspected or confirmed case among our guests or colleagues.
Cross-functional, global response teams, including infectious diseases and occupational health experts, provide guidance to Hyatt hotels, and help address specific needs and situations when needed.
We believe in responsible and safe travel while staying vigilant and following the recommended procedures and protocols by the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local authorities.
Hyatt hotels continue to welcome business and leisure travelers with our established operational excellence and commitment to care.
•Hertz Car Rental
Around the world, we have enhanced our cleaning methods at our locations and our shuttle buses including using approved disinfectant to regularly wipe down high-touch areas such as door handles, counters, kiosks and other hard surfaces.
We’ve added more alcohol-based hand sanitizers and are reminding employees to take important hygiene steps, including frequent handwashing and staying home if ill.
For our vehicles, we are reinforcing our rigorous cleaning process, which includes priority areas such as door handles, steering wheel, dashboard, console, seats, etc.
Tips when traveling by air:
√ Check-in for your flight on your phone through the airline app.
√ Make sure you have your flight notifications on.
√ Arrive at your flight in advance, because there’s a reduction in the onsite parking.
√ Wear a facemask and bring sanitary cleansers with you. You can also check the CDC website for even more updated guidelines.
√ Many airlines have blocked seats to keep unoccupied for social distancing.
Delta has doubled down on its regular cleaning program while adding a fogging process – often used by the food industry – to disinfect transoceanic aircraft interiors. As transoceanic flights come in, fogging takes place after initial cleaning, this time with tray tables lowered and overhead bins and lavatory doors open. Seatback entertainment touch-screens are given an extra cleanse using disinfectant wipes.
Face masks will be required when distancing is not possible.
Our cleaning practices have always met or exceeded all CDC guidelines.
Our planes are cleaned each day at key touchpoints with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
International flights and planes with additional time on the ground receive a 30-point cleaning package each day.
All our planes also undergo a deep cleaning procedure on a regularly scheduled basis.
We’re enhancing our cleaning procedures on international flights and planes that stay overnight at an airport.
Most of our planes have high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that provide a complete air change approximately 15-30 times per hour.
We’re providing hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for crew members on all international flights.
Crew members will wear face masks.
United has stated that its standard aircraft-cleaning procedures will include a thorough wipe-down of all hard surfaces touched by customers and employees – including lavatories, galleys, tray tables, window shades and armrests.
For this cleaning procedure, United said it is using a high-grade disinfectant and multipurpose cleaner.
New inflight-service procedures are being introduced, too. United said it has stopped refilling used cups and glasses in all cabins. Face masks will be required.
More details available at United.com.
The airlines have committed to disinfecting common surfaces more frequently at airport terminals, along with increasing overall cleaning efforts.
JetBlue offers additional disinfecting wipes to customers onboard. JetBlue has also suspended its hot towel service to avoid the spreading virus and is now requiring passengers to wear face masks.
Southwest Airlines has committed to cleaning aircraft with disinfectant for at least six hours each night, along with usual cleaning in between flights – procedures that meet or exceed recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Face masks are encouraged.
More details on each travel company’s policies can be found here.
Travelers can reach AAA Travel directly at 800-937-1222, contact a AAA travel consultant directly over the phone, or visit www.AAA.com.