Airlines respond to COVID-19 positive test in Southern Nevada

Vegas Airport Passengers
Posted at 2:39 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 22:02:05-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — 13 Action News has reached out to several airlines regarding safety measures being taken to protect passengers following Clark County's first presumptive positive case of COVID-19. Below is a roundup of their responses.



Allegiant is a domestic carrier serving only U.S. cities. To date, our service has not been impacted by the coronavirus. We are in constant contact with the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security / TSA and the Department of Transportation, and they have made no recommendations for domestic airlines to alter service at this time.

We have had only a handful of inquiries to our call center, but we will re-accommodate with no fee or provide full credit to passengers with any concerns about traveling.


American Airlines is in close contact with U.S. and international authorities, as well as public health officials, and continues to coordinate with them on all required health and safety related measures regarding COVID-19, or coronavirus. The airline is monitoring the situation closely and will make any updates as needed. Read below to learn more about American’s latest response.

American Airlines response:


In the interest of the health of our Customers and Employees, as of March 4, 2020, we have enhanced our overnight cleaning procedures. Today, we use an EPA approved, hospital-grade disinfectant in the lavatories and an interior cleaner in the cabin. Now, we are expanding the use of the hospital-grade disinfectant, and it will be used in the cabin, on elements in the flight deck, and in the lavatory. This goes beyond the standard CDC guidelines.

As a reminder, aircraft are also tidied up between flights during the day, and we equip all our aircraft with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which filters out recirculated air onboard each plane to remove airborne particles (HEPA filters are also used in hospitals to provide patients with clean air).

We have additional information available on our blog.


We have been closely following guidance provided by public health agencies to airlines to help protect our passengers and crewmembers against potential exposure to COVID-19, in addition to reinforcing our existing controls to keep our cabins clean. Health officials say the biggest risk of transmission of this particular virus is through close, prolonged contact with someone who is contagious. Our cabin air is cleaned through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that create a dry and sterile environment inhospitable to the growth of viruses. Our airport agents and crewmembers are trained to identify and assist any passenger who may show symptoms of being ill, while minimizing the risk of exposure to themselves and others. Medical authorities continue to urge the practice of simple everyday habits to prevent viral spread: hand washing, use of at least 60% alcohol-based sanitizer, not touching your face with unclean hands, disinfecting common areas and staying home when sick. We encourage all passengers and employees to heed this advice.

We’re also offering flexible travel waivers for travelers concerned about potential changes to their plans due to the evolving COVID-19 situation as well as an FAQ available on our website with more information.


United Airlines sent us an internal memo about their coronavirus response. For waivers and change fee policies visit

March 4, 2020
A Message From Oscar & Scott Re: Coronavirus Response

To our United family,

In my note to you over the weekend, I said that your role in taking care of our customers would be critical as we manage through this coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and you are delivering beyond my expectations – we had the best winter month operational performance in January and February that our airline has ever seen. We’re also seeing some of the strongest customer satisfaction ratings in recent memory. That is what success for our company looks like and just one of the reasons why Scott and I are so proud of this team.

Scott is joining me for today’s update, as a lot has changed since this weekend. Overseas, Cathay Pacific has canceled more than three-quarters of its weekly flights in March, and British Airways canceled a large number of flights between March 16 and March 28 because of a large decline in demand.

The experience of these and other foreign carriers is a further sign that the impact of COVID-19 on our industry - both internationally and here in the U.S. - continues to evolve rapidly. We have taken aggressive action to protect our employees, our customers and our company – and we’re back today to provide some additional details.

Due to decline in demand flowing from the impact of COVID-19, we’re taking additional steps to reduce our international and domestic schedules. All of our schedule reductions are, importantly, being implemented in a way that minimizes the impact on our employees and our operation. For example, we’re reducing the number of frequencies per week, finding routes with alternative travel options via other United hubs, and delaying start dates for seasonal travel to certain destinations – without closing any domestic stations.

▪ International Network Changes: We will reduce our international schedule by 20% in April. We’ve already begun planning similar reductions in May. These schedule changes go public on March 7 and include previously announced capacity reductions to select destinations across Asia and suspension of service to Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong.

▪ Domestic Network Changes: The decline in our international bookings, combined with lower demand among U.S. travelers, requires significant changes to our domestic schedule as well. Our schedules across the U.S. and Canada will be reduced by 10% in April. We’ve already begun planning similar reductions in May. These changes also go public on March 7.

▪ Change Fees: Given the high level of uncertainly regarding travel, we are working to give customers more flexibility. We are waiving change fees for any booking – domestic or international – made between March 3 and March 31.

Due to our planned reduction in domestic and international departures - and the resulting impact on our operation - we have also made the difficult decision to implement the following measures, which will affect our employees:

▪ Voluntary, Unpaid Leave of Absence: Starting today, active, non-probationary, U.S.-based employees have the option to apply for a voluntary, unpaid leave of absence or in some cases, a reduced schedule. Details and eligibility will vary by group and employees who are interested can learn more and submit their request through Help Hub.

▪ Hiring Freeze: All new hiring has been suspended through at least June 30, except for roles that are critical to our operation. We also are evaluating the schedule for all new-hire training classes as we will need to postpone some of these classes given the domestic and international schedule changes mentioned above.

▪ Postponed Salary Increases: 2019 merit salary increases for all Management and Administrative employees, including officers of the Company, will be postponed from April 1 until July 1, 2020. All employees covered by collective bargaining agreements will continue to receive their scheduled increases.

In the midst of all these changes, our core4 commitment to safety - your safety - has not wavered. We remain in close contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, federal officials, and other health organizations as we take a variety of steps to keep our customers and employees safe. We’ll continue to keep you in the loop as we implement additional safety measures moving forward.

In this uncertain environment, United, working closely with our labor leaders and the U.S. government, has never been better prepared to weather a crisis like this and that is a tribute to all of you and the jobs you do every day, taking care of our customers and one another.

We sincerely hope that these latest measures are enough, but the dynamic nature of this outbreak requires us to be nimble and flexible moving forward in how we respond. We are confident that if we continue to stick together as one United family, we will emerge from this challenge better positioned than ever to take United to new heights.

Thank you again for all you do. Regards,

Oscar and Scott

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