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Delta doubles cabin cleaners in ‘pit stop’ revamp, buys kits to test for germs



CHICAGO (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) has doubled its staffing to handle revamped pre-flight “pit stops” for deeper cleaning and wants to ensure that tray tables and restroom door handles are germ-free with a new testing process, an executive told Reuters.

Airlines’ efforts to reassure travellers of their safety during the pandemic have spurred a behind-the-scenes scramble to complete the enhanced cleaning that they are promising without sacrificing turnaround times, a cornerstone of profitability, once more passengers take to the skies.

“We’ve done quite a lot of change to our turn process,” the head of Delta’s new Global Cleanliness division Mike Medeiros said in an interview detailing the airline’s strategy for “turns” — the time a plane spends on the ground between flights.

Depending on the aircraft’s size, Delta is deploying at least eight pre-flight cabin cleaners, up from three to five previously, and has adopted a new “pit stop mentality” based on industrial engineering studies into the extra resources required for cleaning each plane type, he said.

After cleaners spray with disinfectant and wipe down high-touch surfaces, a flight attendant and gate agent walk the cabin together to inspect. If the cabin is not up to par, they call back the cleaners.

“Even if that means taking a delay to the flight,” said Medeiros, who is among managers who receive daily cleanliness reports in their inbox based on customer surveys taken after every flight.

“As important as (being) on-time is to our company, we know that cleanliness, particularly in this environment but also going forward, will be just as important,” he said.

Delta’s average clean time for its domestic fleet is now 20 minutes, up from 10 minutes to 15 minutes previously depending on the aircraft size, but it aims to speed up the procedure to protect its turn times once schedules are heavier by adding resources.

To verify levels of cleanliness, Delta is purchasing ATP test kits that measure the amount of bacteria on airplane and airport surfaces. The kits cannot test for COVID-19.

It has already purchased 30 of the hand-held units, which cost about $1,000 each, to test the effectiveness of its cleaning program. The plan is to buy the tests for all of its global airport bases, though details are still being developed.

Among large U.S. rivals, American Airlines (AAL.O) said it has doubled the strength of its cabin cleaning crews but has not had to add extra time to its turns given lighter passenger loads and fewer scheduled flights.

United Airlines (UAL.O) said it has added some extra time to its cleaning process but not workers given the lighter loads.

Southwest Airlines (LUV.N), whose low-cost model depends on quick turns, has not added staffing and said this month it was scaling back some pre-flight cleaning with a view to preserving an average 45-minute turn once its schedule ramps up. It is still using an electrostatic and an anti-microbial spray that kill viruses and shield surfaces for 30 days, as well as a broad-spectrum disinfectant for lavatories and tray tables before every flight, but is not wiping down seat belts or arm rests.

All of the airlines are eyeing new cleaning technology. United, for example, is testing ultraviolet sanitation deployed by drones and hand-held wands for airport and aircraft surfaces. Delta is rolling out antimicrobial LED light technology by Vital Vio in all its aircraft restrooms that will continuously prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, mold and yeast.

The airline is also in talks with Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus SE (AIR.PA) on developing touchless restrooms and is studying a UV light that would sterilize lavatories when they are not in use, Medeiros said.

Last week Delta said it would continue blocking middle seats through Jan. 6. Southwest is limiting seating capacity through October, while American and United are selling all seats.

Beyond the jet, Delta is looking at bipolar ionisation to improve air filtration at its airport facilities, including jetways. Airplanes already use hospital-grade HEPA that refresh air every two to four minutes.

“We’re not afraid of adding costs to the business, but it has to add value,” said Medeiros. “If people are fearful or uncomfortable, travel won’t come back in the near term.”

Reporting and photo: Reuters


Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project



Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.

This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.

Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.

As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.

From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.

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Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services



Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.

Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.

“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.

“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.

Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”

Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.

“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.

To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.

Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.

Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.

For more information, visit

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Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops



Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.

As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.

Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”

“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”

Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.

All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.

Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at:

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