A multilayered approach
Three separate layers of defense to safeguard your health.
Creating healthy airflow
More than 99.9% of viruses removed by filters similar to those used in hospitals.
Developing new technologies
Ultraviolet light is just one of the new tools we're testing.
Research white papers
Boeing researchers evaluated bipolar ionization in various environments for antimicrobial effectiveness and safety.
Keeping you healthy today
Learn how we're partnering with airlines, regulators and organizations around the world to create a multilayered approach focused on keeping passengers and flight crews healthy.
Step 1: Prevent the virus from boarding the airplane
Yes, the first step in safe air travel is just that simple. And you're a vital part. Your own strategies for self-care — physical distancing, masking, washing your hands, avoiding travel if you are feeling unwell — are key to everyone's well-being.
Steps you can take
Whether you're planning a trip, packing your luggage or already on your way, there are practical things you can do to protect yourself and others you may come into contact with while on your journey.
Steps you can take
While making your plans
Your health comes first
If you don't feel well, reconsider your travel plans and seek professional medical advice on whether or not you should travel.
Be online instead of in line
See how much of your travel-related "paperwork" can be handled online, in order to save time and preserve physical distancing. Online options exist for many common tasks, such as securing e-visas, travel authorizations, checking in and tagging bags.
Plan ahead for different requirements
Your journey may involve multiple airlines, airports and even countries. Be sure to look ahead in your itinerary and be ready to adhere to the different guidelines or requirements involved at each step. Global airline alliances and their members have assembled travel tools that can help. Check out these offerings from oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
Steps you can take
When packing for your trip
Masking for the long term
Masks are a common requirement. Reusable cloth masks require regular laundering, so factor that need into your itinerary. If you're wearing a disposable mask, make sure to pack enough masks to cover your entire trip, including time spent at your destination.
Hand washing without water
A sink and soap may not be easily accessible while traveling. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows one liquid hand sanitizer container (up to 12 ounces) in carry-on bags until further notice. (For traveling outside the U.S., check local requirements.)
Airlines are cleaning the cabin between flights, but you're free to do your own wipe-down if you like. Consider bringing disinfectant wipes to wipe down any noncloth airplane cabin surfaces, such as tray tables and armrests.
Steps you can take
While you travel
You'll come into contact with many surfaces while traveling, so remember to wash your hands at regular intervals. If soap and water are available, then there's no better way to spend 20 seconds. If not, then use the hand sanitizer you packed in your carry-on.
Consistently wearing a mask while traveling is scientifically proven to help prevent transmission of the virus. Scientists from Harvard's Aviation Public Health Initiative recently reviewed 48 separate face mask studies. Learn what they found.
If you become sick while traveling, immediately inform a member of the flight crew, follow their instructions, and make sure to seek professional medical care once you're on the ground.
Your well-being and that of the flight crew is our top priority. Learn about how we and your favorite airlines, along with universities and international health, industry and regulatory organizations, are working together to help create the healthiest flying experience possible.
Keeping you and the flight crew safe
Thinking of the surfaces you touch
On the way to your seat, you'll come into contact with multiple surfaces in the cabin. And your flight crew will touch these and more. We took all of this into account when testing and selecting the disinfectants that we recommend to our airline partners.
Creating a comprehensive approach
After carefully evaluating data for 20 disinfectants and referring to guidance from public health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we approved seven disinfectants and detailed the best ways to safely use them.
Helping airlines keep you safe
We share our comprehensive recommendations with all of our airline partners as they focus on creating the safest travel experience for you. This is an ongoing effort as we continue to work together closely, sharing best practices, the latest information and newest advances.
A global effort
Supporting your airline
We're working with hundreds of airlines of every size around the world. Our recent collaborations on disinfection are part of a much larger relationship that includes thousands of our customer support teammates working with airlines on everything from airplane performance to service in the field.
Meet our team
Our people are where our airline customers are: all over the globe. And our disinfection team is no different. In a way, it represents all of us because it includes the wide range of expertise that goes into making our planes: engineers, scientists, programmers and technicians all working together.
Coordinating with other organizations
A global crisis requires a global response. That's why we're working with organizations of all kinds around the world. International regulators. Manufacturers and industry groups. Universities and health authorities like the CDC and WHO. Everyone working together to enhance health safeguards for air travel.
Continuing to support your airline
We're dedicated to supporting airlines in creating the safest travel experience possible. We listen and learn from each other. And we make sure that what one airline learns, they all learn, by sharing these insights and recommendations to all of our customers and across the industry.
Always seeking better and better solutions
We never rest. Our labs continue to test and evaluate new disinfectants such as ultraviolet light. We're looking at new ways of applying them in the cabin and the flight deck. We're also researching materials and coatings that make it harder for a virus or bacteria to survive..
Deepening collaborations around the world
We're laying the groundwork for even greater progress. We're partnering with researchers to advance understanding of how respiratory viruses can be transmitted in an airplane cabin. We're also collecting data to build a model that will help experts fight the virus more effectively.
Airplane cabin environment
Cabin air filtration
All Boeing airplanes have systems already in place to help maintain a healthy cabin environment. These systems filter the air you breathe and minimize the spread of airborne contaminants.
- The volume of cabin air is exchanged every two to three minutes
- HEPA filters similar to those used in hospitals capture more than 99.9% of viruses and bacteria
- Cabin air flows primarily from ceiling to floor in a circular pattern and leaves through the floor grilles near the same seat row where it enters
Answering your questions
Everyone has questions about how to protect their health while traveling. We've got answers to the questions people are asking most.
We are focused on multiple layers of protection to combat virus transmission. Layered protection requires a system-wide approach extending beyond the inside of the airplane and this is why we are working closely with other agencies and organizations, such as airports, regulatory authorities and industry associations.
The first layer of protection is working with airlines and airports to help prevent anyone with the virus from boarding the airplane. This includes the airlines' flexible re-booking procedures and passenger screening at airports. The second layer is supporting our airline partners with cleaning and disinfecting practices. The third layer helps to minimize contaminants from spreading throughout the cabin through the careful design of the cabin air system, which includes HEPA filters that remove more than 99% of all contaminants. Another essential safety factor is wearing a face mask, which multiple scientific studies prove help prevent transmission of the virus.
Boeing supports the guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and other health and safety regulators to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses. This includes face masks, routine hand-washing, personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and other basic personal hygiene. Learn about other practical things you can do to protect yourself while traveling by reading Steps you can take.
We are currently evaluating a number of new technologies that may further reduce the risk of disease transmission on our aircraft. Two examples are the evaluation of anti-microbial and anti-viral application on surfaces and high-touch points throughout the cabin and lavatories and UV light disinfection, including through UV wands. These technologies are still in development and will only be deployed on a passenger airplane after they have been successfully tested and approved by customers and regulators.
We continue to support our airline customers as we collectively navigate this public health emergency. Airlines and authorities have taken steps including increased cabin cleaning between flights, passenger spacing, and requiring travelers to wear masks both in the airport terminal and onboard the airplane.
We support the guidance our customers deliver to passengers in conjunction with the travel and public health guidance of governments and public health agencies around the world.
We're in daily discussions with our airline partners, providing the latest updates and information and gathering their feedback.
While we work with the industry to develop uniform best practices, we will continue to provide specific guidance to our partners. We have distributed guidance to them on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved disinfectant products that are compatible with airplane systems and structures and procedures for use in the flight deck and passenger cabin.
We have also directed our airline partners to the information about COVID-19 that is currently available from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Yes. It is scientifically proven that wearing a face mask throughout your travel experience is an essential part of helping you protect yourself from the virus. Scientists from Harvard's Aviation Public Health Initiative recently reviewed 48 separate face mask studies. Learn what they found.
Cabin air filtration
Today's airplanes incorporate cabin air features designed to help protect the safety and health of passengers.
The cabin air flows primarily from ceiling to floor, not front to back, which minimizes contaminants spreading through the cabin.
It is also exchanged every two to three minutes with outside air and through high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These HEPA filters, which are similar to those used in hospital operating rooms and industrial clean rooms, trap more than 99.9% of particulates such as bacteria and viruses from the air before it is recirculated to the cabin.
The air on an airplane moves primarily from ceiling to floor, not front to back. This minimizes contaminants spreading through the cabin and ensures airflow leaves the cabin close to where it enters.
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters installed on Boeing airplanes remove particulates from the air that passes through them as it is recirculated to the cabin. The cabin air filtration systems, which are similar to those used in hospital operating rooms and industrial clean rooms, trap more than 99.9% of particulates such as bacteria and viruses and prevent them from recirculating into the cabin.
However, HEPA filters can only clean the air that circulates through them, so if a passenger sneezes and there is no filter between, the filter cannot clean that air. That is why it's important for passengers to follow the guidance of health and aviation authorities such as wearing a face mask, keeping your hands clean and wiping down surfaces where germs can linger with a disinfectant wipe.
We support airlines following the detailed guidance provided by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) for what the cabin crew should do on the flight when someone onboard is sick with a possible contagious disease.
This guidance equips the cabin crew with practical methods for identifying a sick and potentially infectious traveler and multiple measures for controlling the risk of infection to other passengers and themselves.
Any actions taken to control the risk of airborne infection are enhanced by the air filtration systems already in place, which incorporate High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters similar to those used in hospitals and industrial clean rooms. HEPA filters are more than 99.9% effective at removing particulates such as viruses and bacteria before air is recirculated back to the cabin.
Hearing from you
We want to know your thoughts and feelings about traveling today. Our quick survey only takes a minute.
what do you think?
Technologies in development
Here are just a few of the projects we and our partners are working on to further enhance health safeguards.
Testing an antimicrobial coating in space
Boeing and the University of Queensland in Australia developed an antimicrobial coating that is designed to fight the spread of bacteria and viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. That coating is now being tested aboard the International Space Station.
Supporting customers with guidance on vaccine transport needs
Boeing is providing guidance to airline and cargo customers about how to safely transport vaccines in Boeing-made airplanes.
The heat is on: High temps tested for killing viruses in the flight deck
Boeing engineers and university partners prove thermal disinfection sanitizes flight decks.
Harvard study: flying poses less risk of viral spread than shopping or eating out
Independent research study identifies a layered approach as key to healthy travel.
Boeing and University of Arizona show cleaning tools and techniques effective against COVID-19
Cleaning technologies and disinfecting solutions tested against a humanly safe virus inside an unoccupied Boeing airplane.
Cough modeling tests inside the airplane
U.S. Department of Defense findings show the cabin environment quickly removes particles in the air.
How airplane cabins reduce COVID-19 transmission risk
New research finds the cabin environment minimizes the spread of particles from coughing and breathing.
Ultraviolet wand sanitizes the inside of an airplane
When Boeing engineers saw the need to counter the pandemic and its effect on passengers, they were attracted to a purple glow.
Shielding surfaces with anti-microbial coatings
Anti-microbial surfaces make it hard for microbes, such as viruses, to grow. Boeing is evaluating existing products while collaborating with researchers to develop new solutions.
Boeing has developed a self-disinfecting lavatory prototype that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect all surfaces in about three seconds after every use — killing 99.9% of germs.
Go behind the stories and see our research on COVID-19 and healthy travel for yourself.
Use of Bipolar Ionization for Disinfection within Airplanes
Boeing researchers evaluated bipolar ionization in various environments for antimicrobial effectiveness and safety.
Comparison of Cough Particle Exposure for Indoor Commercial and Aircraft Cabin Spaces
Boeing researchers compared the transport of respiratory pathogens by performing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, tracking particles released by coughing from a Boeing 737 aircraft passenger and by a person in a comparable space.
Role of Persistent Disinfectants in Reducing Disease Transmission from Contaminated Surfaces
Boeing investigated disinfectant methods that provide active and continuous (or “persistent”) disinfection.
Compatibility of Aircraft Interior Surfaces with 222 nm Far-UV Light Exposure
To understand the impact of 222 nm Far-UV light exposure on aircraft interior parts, Boeing evaluated a comprehensive set of materials. This paper outlines the results.
Thermal Disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 within an Airplane
Boeing engineers and experts from the University of Arizona determined thermal disinfection kills viruses on hard-to-clean flight deck equipment.
Engineered Physical Distance Equivalence for a Cough
Boeing researchers found the design of the airplane cabin and airflow system create the equivalent of more than 7 feet (2 meters) of physical distance between every passenger.
Clean Airplane Program — Live Virus Validation Testing
Live virus validation testing conducted by Boeing and the University of Arizona evaluated disinfection technologies on airplane cabin surfaces.
Chemical Disinfectant Evaluation and Approval for the Aerospace Industry
This paper discusses what constitutes an effective chemical disinfectant and details the process Boeing employed in selecting and authorizing chemical disinfectants to be used both within their manufacturing facilities and on aircraft by airline operators.
Safety of 222 nm Band-Pass Filtered Irradiation
A review and analysis of current data regarding the safety of 222 nanometer UV light.
Disinfection with Far-UV (222 nm Ultraviolet light)
This paper provides an overview of Far-UV 222 nm technology and its disinfection capability.
Selection and Characterization of Semi-Automated Disinfection Devices
Boeing researchers studied the use of electrostatic sprayers to determine best practices and provide recommendations for reliable disinfection of the aircraft's interior.
Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling and the Transport of Cough Particles in an Aircraft Cabin
Boeing's CFD analysis showed the transmission of particles is mitigated by the cabin design and airflow system.
Probability and Estimated Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in the Air Travel System
Boeing's analysis determined the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is extremely low.
As accurate information is the key to making informed decisions, we and our partners are assembling travel- and health-related resources for your use.
IATA statement on US CDC study about physical distancing on airplanes
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) notes that the US CDC study did not consider the significant risk-reduction impacts of mask-wearing, and cites the scientific studies that have taken this into account.
Aviation Public Health Initiative phase 2 report
Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health release Phase Two "Curb-to-Curb" report of SARS CoV-2 transmission and risk mitigation during time spent in airports.
Aviation Public Health Initiative phase 1 report
Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health release Phase One "Gate-to-Gate" report of SARS CoV-2 transmission and risk mitigation while flying.
Airlines test effectiveness of cleaning, disinfecting routines
NBC's Tom Costello takes a closer look at the first-of-its-kind study that involved spreading live virus throughout the aircraft.
USTRANSCOM releases results from study testing risk of COVID exposure on contracted aircraft
Testing showed the overall exposure risk from aerosolized pathogens, like coronavirus, is very low...
Research points to low risk for COVID-19 transmission inflight
Manufacturer studies provide insight into extremely few incidents of COVID-19 inflight infections...
Harvard reviews latest data about face masks in air travel
Learn why scientists from Harvard's Aviation Public Health Initiative confirm that wearing a face mask is essential...
Covid-19 travel tools available from oneworld
Access information and links for their member airlines and dozens of airport hubs around the world...
SkyTeam Alliance provides Covid-19 travel tools
Get the latest information from their member airlines and see the status of alliance lounges and products...
Star Alliance offers tailored Covid-19 travel reports
Generate and share information about the specific airlines, airports, and countries along your journey...
“Dear Travellers” from the Global Airline Alliances
oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance team up to highlight the current health and safety measures in place to ensure you can fly with confidence...
Making the personal choice to fly again
It was early April and my family and I needed to fly from Washington State to Arizona for a personal matter...
The importance of confident travel in an anxious world
Most of us have a need to connect with others — to spend time with loved ones, to conduct business, to experience new cultures. ...
Boeing Names Delaney to Lead Confident Travel Initiative
Boeing today appointed Mike Delaney to lead the company's Confident Travel Initiative, effective immediately. Working across ...
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Guide
IATA offers resources to help those who need to travel by air, have traveled recently, or whose trip has been canceled...
Int'l. Air Transport Assoc. (IATA) Travel Regulations Map
IATA's interactive COVID-19 travel map offers updated passport, visa and health requirements sorted by country...
EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Passenger Travel Guidance
EASA set new standards for aviation safety & passenger wellbeing, working with EU health and governing authorities...
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Guidance
ICAO addresses the pandemic's impact on the global aviation transportation system and mitigations to reduce health risks...
Airports Council International (ACI) COVID-19 Updates
ACI offers the most recent technical guidance and support, news, information and training related to airports and COVID-19...
Airlines for America (A4A): Airlines Take Action
A4A and U.S. airlines are taking substantial, proactive steps to protect passengers throughout the global pandemic...