Newswise — Taking new actions that focus on the well-being and safety of customers and team members, American Airlines today announced that it has created a new Travel Health Advisory Panel that includes Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) infectious disease experts to advise on health and cleaning matters as travelers return over the summer.
The panel will include VUMC experts David Aronoff, MD, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Thomas Talbot, MD, MPH, Chief Hospital Epidemiologist, national leaders in the field of infectious disease prevention. These experts will provide American with the latest information from public health authorities and scientific research as well as advice and guidance on disease prevention, cleaning procedures and other public health matters. The panel, which will include other safety and operations experts, will help American Airlines continue to improve and innovate its cleaning procedures and ensure customers always feel safe in the skies.
“We’re pleased to have access to new guidance on infectious diseases from the experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center,” said Alison Taylor, American’s Chief Customer Officer. “Drs. Aronoff and Talbot will be an important part of our decision-making process on issues including cleaning, health screening, and infection prevention and control.”
“We are proud to be advising a worldwide aviation leader like American Airlines as it works diligently to bring a new level of health and safety to the skies,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC. “As part of the Travel Health Advisory Panel, our infectious disease experts are working closely with leaders at American to help them identify and apply COVID-19 safety and infection prevention best practices for their team members and passengers around the world.”
The new panel complements American’s existing work with medical director Dr. Stan Miller, and its ongoing consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other outside experts.
In May, American began requiring all customers and team members on board to wear a face covering unless there is a medical reason why they cannot. And earlier this month American said it would limit flight privileges for customers who refuse to wear a face covering without a medical reason. Face masks are also required for customers throughout their journey at most of American’s hub airports, and American continues to encourage airports to make this the standard. Wearing a face covering continues to be one of the most important ways travelers can protect themselves and others while flying.
In addition, beginning June 30, American will begin asking customers during the check-in process to certify that they have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for the past 14 days. American worked with VUMC to develop the COVID-19 symptom checklist for each customer using self-service machines in airports or during online check-in at home. American has also been actively engaged with recent efforts by the industry trade group Airlines for America to put customer well-being first.
“Our customers trust us to make every aspect of their journey safe. We won’t let them down,” Taylor said. “We will continue to refine and update our practices based on the latest information from health authorities and our own Travel Health Advisory Panel.”