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United Deploys Handheld UVC Device to Clean Flight Decks

Airline consulted with Cleveland Clinic on the use of new tool to disinfect sensitive aircraft switches and touch screen displays

August 10, 2020

United Airlines is using handheld Ultraviolet C (UVC) lighting technology to disinfect the flight deck interior on most aircraft at its hub airports. The handheld device, AUVCo Blade from the American Ultraviolet company, kills any viruses on sensitive switches and touch screen displays on the flight deck.

The airline says it has tested a variety of uses for UVC lighting as a disinfectant and consulted with its partners at the Cleveland Clinic to determine that the flight deck was the most effective use of the technology.

“Flight decks have many working parts, screens and components that are challenging to clean with traditional hand wipes and liquids, especially for someone who isn’t a pilot,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations. “The UVC lighting gives us a faster, more effective disinfection of one of the most important areas of the aircraft.”

Take a look at the UVC lighting cleaning process in action here.

United is combining the use of UVC lighting on the flight deck with electrostatic spraying in the cabin as part of its enhanced CleanPlus initiative announced in May. 

Other measures the airline has implemented to help ensure a cleaner environment include:

At Check-In

• Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hubs and other airports throughout the airline’s system

• Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums

• Promoting social distancing with floor markings to help customers stand six feet apart

• Rolling out touchless check-in for customers with bags

At the Gate

• Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers

Providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes

• Using electrostatic sprayers in select markets to disinfect gate areas at United’s hub airports

• Enabling customers to self-scan boarding passes

• Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front

• Introduced real-time seat assignment update text and e-mail notifications

• On Board, in addition to electrostatic spraying to disinfect most aircraft prior to flight

• Disinfecting high-touch areas – such as tray tables and armrests – prior to boarding

• Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service

• Deplaning in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding

• Providing onboard items including pillows and blankets upon request