Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA administrator from 2017-2019, has been a helpful source on coronavirus. He was one of the first people with a real microphone sounding the alarm about lack of testing in the United States.

He gave an interview where he talked, among other things, about airlines not doing enough cleaning and not doing enough to keep employees safe.

Gottlieb says airlines aren’t doing enough, focused instead on getting a government bailout.

There’s things that the airlines could be doing to implement better infection control on the plane and inspire more confidence that they’re just not doing. But they’re running around Washington talking about the impact that this has had on their volumes and the economic impact, and probably laying the groundwork for another bailout … and I don’t see them doing anything proactive to actually control the circumstances.

He focused on 3 areas where airlines were falling short, based on his own travels.

  • “I was on a[n American Airlines] plane Saturday, and I got on a plane, there was no Purell (hand sanitizer) when I got on the plane. They didn’t hand me anything when I got on the plane.”
  • “The (flight attendant) was passing things around without gloves on, wasn’t changing gloves.”
  • “They could be building in more time between turns of planes to do deeper cleanings.”

American has had hand sanitizers at international gates.

Alaska Airlines was doing the most, cleaning even domestic aircraft more in between flights (but only at hubs when planes are on the ground for over an hour).

International planes are getting more cleaning, and there are plans that some airlines have to do even more for those aircraft, but for the most part domestic aircraft are getting additional cleaning at best once a night.

More turn time between flights is exactly what I hoped for last week, noting that reduced schedules should allow for this.