Wheels Up yesterday announced the launch of Safe Passage, an enhanced safety and health program for its employees, members, customers, and partners with expanded guidelines in response to COVID-19 and today’s ongoing public health concerns.
The program brings new safety measures among others that were implemented at the onset of the pandemic and will evolve in accordance with new medical and governmental guidelines, according to a press release.
The initiative is based on Collective Go, a comprehensive COVID-19 screening, testing and monitoring solution developed by Collective Health.
Safe Passage incorporates existing safety procedures and heightened cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting processes in the Wheels Up owned and managed fleet of over 300 aircraft.
The protocols also apply to the Wheels Up approved network of safety-vetted and verified operating partners who are complying with the outlined requirements.
The program includes:
Updated Crew and Passenger Policies & Procedures:
Wheels Up crew will participate in Collective Go, designed for organizations to help facilitate safer return to work and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
By adopting Collective Go, Wheels Up is further supporting safety for crewmembers with high-sensitivity testing. Collective Go offers an evidence-based, adaptive approach, with a scientific protocol developed by Collective Health medical experts and reviewed by former FDA Commissioners and researchers from leading academic and public health institutions.
With the easy-to-use Collective Go app, Wheels Up crew complete a daily symptom and exposure checklist, manage their COVID-19 testing, and those who pass the protocol requirements receive compliance certificates to remain eligible for duty.
Wheels Up will make available personal protective equipment (PPE) for all passengers on all flights including hand/face/surface wipes, hand sanitizer, and a mask.
The private aviation company is also asking passengers wear masks during boarding, briefing, deboarding, and anytime within six feet of the cockpit while a crewmember is present.
Wheels Up Shared and Shuttle Flights
For both Shared and Shuttle Flights, Wheels Up will limit capacity to six passengers, and all passengers will be required to wear masks throughout the entire flight experience. This includes in the FBO (if required at that location) while greeting the crew prior to boarding, at all times while in the cabin, through deboarding and farewell, and in the FBO at destination (if required at that location).
For Shared Flights, Wheels Up will limit the number of shared groups to two. The company has also reintroduced a selection of snacks and water on all aircraft. Each snack will be pre-packaged and individually wrapped for passenger convenience.
Existing Crew Policies & Procedures
If anyone onboard shows signs of illness, the aircraft will immediately undergo a deep cleaning and disinfecting procedure.
Wheels Up crewmembers are required to wear masks while on duty before, during, and post-flight. The only exception is while airborne and in the cockpit, where, for safety reasons, wearing a mask will remain at the crewmembers’ discretion.
Wheels Up crewmembers must regularly wash and sanitize their hands to protect against catching and spreading COVID-19. They may also opt to wear gloves at times in compliance with CDC guidelines. Wheels Up crew will refrain from offering welcome and farewell handshakes.
To allow Wheels Up crewmembers to verify passenger IDs, passengers will be asked to either place their IDs on a clean surface or show them from a distance, so they are the only ones handling the cards or documents.
During the onboard safety briefing, passengers will be asked to move to the rear of the cabin, so there will be more distance between them and Wheels Up crewmembers. Upon passenger request, the crew will close the cockpit door/curtain during the flight when safe to do so.
Existing Passenger Policies & Procedures:
For passenger and Wheels Up crewmember safety, all points outlined below must be true at the time of the flight:
- No passenger has COVID-19, is awaiting a result for a COVID-19 test that was in response to experiencing symptoms, or is suspected positive for COVID-19.
- No passenger is experiencing symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
- No passenger has been in close contact (within six feet) for a prolonged period of time (more than 15 minutes) with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
- Any passenger that has recovered from COVID-19 must meet the following criteria: (i) at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)); and (ii) at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or since the person received a positive test (if they had no symptoms).
- Wheels Up requests that passengers immediately notify the Company if the above information changes for any passenger between the time of booking and the time of the flight, or within 48 hours following the flight.
Existing Aircraft Policies & Procedures:
All Wheels Up aircraft are treated with a product called ClearCabin. This two-part solution, professionally applied throughout the interior of the aircraft that works across a broad spectrum of known bacteria and viruses like COVID-19, is used around the world in hospitals, cancer/bone marrow and transplant wings, and a broad range of commercial facilities.
ClearCabin is odorless and colorless, creates a mechanical bond with all surfaces, and does not affect the texture of the surface onto which it is applied. Wheels Up planes are treated every 90 days at a minimum.
Between flights, all seats and interior surfaces of the aircraft are treated with a disinfectant-grade product that is on the EPA’s List-N of products approved for use against COVID-19 to sanitize and clean all touchpoint areas in the aircraft
The pressurization system on Wheels Up aircraft replaces cabin air with fresh outside air approximately every three minutes during flight. HEPA filters are not needed since the air is not recycled or recirculated, the company says Clean air comes in through the engines and goes out through the outflow valves.
“Since our inception, Wheels Up has been built on a commitment to safety,” said Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO of Wheels Up.
He added, “Safe Passage is a tip to tail approach for maintaining a safe work and safe travel environment. With all of the measures we’ve identified, including the integration of Collective Go, we are reinforcing our commitment to your safety.”