The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is giving airlines some guidance when it comes to cleaning aircraft in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Updated guidelines have also been released for how crew members can take measures to create safer, cleaner environments inside the aircraft.

The CDC is instructing airlines to simply follow the routine procedures in place if no symptomatic passengers are observed on flights. In addition, the CDC has outlined some specific cleaning instructions for instances where crew members do identify symptomatic passengers.

The rundown of what airlines will be doing to sanitize aircraft interiors is pretty predictable. Crews should clean all surfaces within a six-foot radius of a symptomatic passenger's seat. This includes seat belts, carpeting, tray tables, armrests, windows and handles on overhead compartments. A bathroom used by a sick passenger should also be thoroughly cleaned. Special attention should be given to door handles, locking devices, toilet seats, faucet handles, walls, counters and waste bins.

The CDC has also issued some general guidelines for handling passengers amid the coronavirus outbreak. Most of the new guidelines focus on the treatment of sick passengers. Here's a look at the core updates:

  • Any traveler experiencing a fever for 48 hours should be reported.
  • Travelers with a combination of fever, breathing difficulties and unwell appearance should be reported.
  • Crew should offer face masks to ill passengers.
  • A sick person should be instructed to cover the mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing if face masks are not available.
  • All bodily fluids should be treated as though they are infectious.
  • Gloves, face masks, eye protection and gowns should be used by crew members when tending to sick passengers.
  • All used equipment should be placed into biohazard bags.

The CDC is also instructing all cabin and crew members to practice consistent hand-washing techniques. Additionally, the CDC is recommending alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water are not available. It is also being recommended that airlines provide hand sanitizer to crew members for personal usage.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: