Close up hand is wearing gloves cleaning aircraft for covid-19 prevention pandemic

From an ergonomic standpoint, the airplane seat has been a source of scrutiny since the onset of flights aside from perhaps a first-class option. In last year-and-a-half, however, a lack of arm or legroom has fallen second on the list of concerns for occupants as the COVID-19 pandemic shines an unprecedented spotlight on the cleanliness of these seats. 

As airlines attempt to ease the infection control concerns of both occupants and employees, enhanced cleaning protocols at higher frequencies have kept building service contractors (BSCs) busier than ever with meeting these demands, with any kind of technological assist being more than welcome to expedite the processes between flights. In a report from Bloomberg, one spike in demand for the $4.2 billion airplane seat industry are seat coverings design to repel bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. When properly applied, these fabrics are said to reduce the presence of pathogens on these seats — which in-theory enables cleaning crews to reduce the number of frequencies on cleaning tasks in between flights while ensuring the same level of safety. 

According to Quentin Munier, head of strategy and innovation for Safran SA, a manufacturer of aircraft parts, one airline carrier has successfully been able to cut down daily rotations on seat disinfecting from eight to six with the proper use of these seat coverings. Safran is currently in works with hospitals that are testing the effectiveness of these fabrics along with other potential options, including a spray capable to lasting between six months and a year repelling germs once applied. 

While these technologies appear to have encouraging results, the International Air Transport Association continues to recommend other standard cleaning procedures for aircraft seats, including vacuuming of loose particles, belt buckle disinfection, visible stain removal and more. 

In related airline cleaning news, check out this article on the use of a UV wand for disinfection on Boeing flights.