(NBC News) After months of deserted terminals, airlines say they’re ready to fill flights again.
American Airlines expanded flights to full capacity beginning July 1, joining United and Spirit Airlines. The move comes despite a rise in COVID-19 cases in dozens of states.
According to the Centers for Disease Control flying may increase your risk for exposure, but American has instituted new procedures aimed at minimizing that risk.
Between flights, cleaners will disinfect all surfaces, from tray tables to window shades. It’s a big change from the once-a-day deep cleanings that took place before the pandemic. At least once a week, planes will get treated with a virus-killing electrostatic spray.
American and most other major airlines will also require passengers to answer a health questionnaire and wear a face covering to board.
“If customers refuse to wear the mask we will limit their travel,” says American’s Ralph Lopez.
Delta and United also say they will ban travelers who refuse to comply.
Passengers can still remove the mask to eat or drink.
Whether it’s a full flight or not, there’s no way to completely mitigate contracting COVID-19 and many health experts are still recommending against non-essential travel at this time.