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3News Investigates: How are airlines keeping you safe during COVID-19 pandemic?

Are the airlines requiring masks and temperature checks? Are planes being properly cleaned? Is social distancing being done?

CLEVELAND — Air travel has been nearly shut down for the last few months due to COVID-19. But as states begin to loosen their stay-at-home policies, passengers will start to come back to the terminals to fly. 

So how are the airlines handling coronavirus concerns as people look to resume air travel. 3News Investigates decided to take a close look at how the carriers that use Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are dealing with COVID-19. 

We looked at four categories for airlines: 

  • Are they requiring masks or facial coverings?
  • Are they requiring temperature checks?
  • Is cleaning being done between each flight?
  • Are they providing more space for social distancing? Are they blocking middle seats?

All airlines except Allegiant are requiring masks or face coverings. 

While major U.S. airlines endorse temperature checks for passengers, only Frontier has mandated it so far.

"It was super quiet, I had the row to myself," said Megan Skufca, who was flying into Cleveland Hopkins to see her family. "Everyone was wearing masks."

DELTA

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? Delta employees and customers will experience an extra layer of protection starting May 4, as we require all customers to wear a face mask or appropriate face covering when traveling with us.

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? Employee temperature checks

CLEANING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? Expanding electrostatic sanitizing spraying – to all aircraft and adopting extensive pre-flight cleaning practices that disinfect high-touch areas – on top of existing cleaning measures and the use of state-of-the-art air circulation systems with HEPA filters that extract more than more than 99.999% of even the tiniest viruses on many Delta aircraft.

MORE SPACE? Taking steps to give customers and employees more space for safer travel on the ground and in the air by blocking middle seats.

A Delta spokesperson told 3News, "We are blocking middle seats from being purchased (these have been blocked for sale since mid-April), but we have actually gone a step further by blocking select window and aisle seats on certain aircraft appropriate to the seating configuration on that plane."

UNITED

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? Starting May 4, all United travelers are required to wear a face covering on board. United representatives will have masks available for those who need one.

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? Employee temperature checks

CLEANING/DISENFECTING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? We have implemented electrostatic spraying into our cleaning procedures on all inbound long-haul international flights, and mainline overnight aircraft at our U.S. hubs. In June, all aircraft will have electrostatic spray on every one of our departures, in addition to disinfecting customer touch points and surfaces before every flight.

MORE SPACE? Adjusting our seat selection systems to avoid where possible seating customers next to each other, except when traveling together. We're also alternating window and aisle seats when seats are in pairs. While we cannot guarantee that all customers will be seated next to an unoccupied seat, based on historically low travel demand and the implementation of our various social distancing measures, that is the likely outcome.

ADDITIONAL: Starting on May 12, we will introduce another layer of protection by providing individually wrapped hand sanitizer wipes to our customers as they board the aircraft.

RELATED: United Airlines rolls out two new initiatives to keep fliers safe

AMERICAN

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? A face covering is required while flying on American, except for very young children or anyone with a condition that prevents them from wearing one.

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? NOT ON WEBSITE

CLEANING/DISENFECTING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? Improvements to cleaning procedures will begin in early May 2020 and will expand to every mainline and regional flight over time. We’re expanding the comprehensive cleaning package used during longer stops to every mainline flight. This will include cleaning customer areas like tray tables and seatbelt buckles and team member areas like galleys and cockpit surfaces.

MORE SPACE? We’re making more standard seats available on the seat map and restricting access to some seats, when possible, to give you more space. When time and flight loads permit, gate agents may move your seat as needed to help create a more comfortable environment.

SOUTHWEST

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? Face coverings or masks will be required for Customers starting May 11. If you forget your mask at home, one will be available for you.

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? NOT ON WEBSITE. Although, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly is pushing for traveler health screenings amid the coronvavirus crisis, calling for passenger temperature checks by the Transportation Security Administration.

CLEANING/DISENFECTING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? Sani-Cide EX3, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, will be used to clean commonly used areas (onboard lavatories, tray tables, armrests, seat belts, flight attendant call buttons, and overhead bin handles) before every flight. (Begins mid-May)

MORE SPACE? We are limiting the number of people onboard each flight to provide Customers more personal space to spread out and there will be no need for the middle seat to be occupied. (Currently through June)

FRONTIER

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? Beginning May 8, all Frontier customers will be required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? Beginning June 1, we will implement temperature screenings for all passengers and team members prior to boarding flights. Screening will be done via touchless thermometers. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed to fly

CLEANING/DISENFECTING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? All of our aircraft are regularly cleaned using disinfectant deemed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against COVID-19. Also, we have made the proactive decision to elevate the cleaning and sanitation of our aircraft beyond standard practice during this time.

-MORE SPACE? A Frontier spokesperson told 3News, "We are blocking and not filling a number of middle seats on each flight."

JETBLUE

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? Starting May 4, all customers are required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey.

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? Not listed on website, but JetBlue's CEO is the latest airline to urge government officials to add temperature screenings for air travelers.

CLEANING/DISENFECTING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? We have increased aircraft cleaning each night and during extended ground time during the day. We are applying disinfectant that is effective against coronavirus across aircraft interiors including the places customers touch most – the tray tables, seat covers, armrests and seatbelts.

MORE SPACE? We are limiting the number of seats for sale on most JetBlue flights, allowing us to provide additional space between individuals who are not traveling together.

SPIRIT

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? We now require all Guests and Team Members to wear face coverings

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? Not on website

CLEANING/DISENFECTING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? Enhanced supply kits have elevated onboard cleaning. Our expanded aircraft cleaning protocols include extra focus on high-frequency touch points like handles, seatbelt buckles, tray tables, and armrests.

MORE SPACE? “We’ve changed our seating process to improve social distancing by blocking middle seats on most flights. 

ALLEGIANT

REQUIRING MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS? Providing face masks to customers but not requiring them to wear them. 

REQUIRING TEMPERATURE CHECKS? Not listed on website

CLEANING/DISENFECTING BETWEEN EACH FLIGHT? Our aircraft are cleaned and disinfected to the highest possible standard, exceeding CDC and Airbus guidance.

MORE SPACE? Customers are encouraged not to book the middle seat, unless it’s to ensure families can sit together. To provide additional space while in flight, we have blocked seats in our booking path. However, blocked seats may be filled during full flights

An Allegiant spokesperson told 3News, "We are providing complimentary health and safety kits including a single-use face mask, disposable gloves and antibacterial wipes to passengers on all our flights. We encourage passengers to wear face coverings but do not require it. We find that most passengers have already adopted this as a practice."

RELATED: Airlines should give you full cash refund during pandemic, senators propose

RELATED: Delta Air Lines is suspending flights in and out of Akron-Canton Airport through at least September

RELATED: Frontier Airlines implementing temperature screenings for crew and passengers

RELATED: TSA screeners to wear masks at checkpoints

RELATED: JetBlue is giving free flights to 100,000 health care heroes

RELATED: Nearly every major US airline now requires face masks