First Free Story (1 of 3)

More travel executives get their mission-critical industry news from Skift than any other source on the planet.

Already a member?

The number one priority these days for travel companies is making their customers feel safe. Since coronavirus is spread through particulates in the air, much of having that peace of mind comes down to knowing what you are breathing in is clean. Enter the HEPA filter.

Airlines, for one, say that HEPA filters can help keep air purified in the confined space of a jet cabin. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian on Tuesday touted HEPA filters during an earnings call saying they help pump “hospital-grade air quality on board” to help restore consumer confidence.

But what exactly is a HEPA filter?

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the “filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm).” This size of 0.3 microns is in reference to the worst case, as that size is the most penetrating. Particles that are larger or smaller in size will be trapped with higher efficiency.

According to ThomasNet.com, the top HEPA filter manufacturer is HDT Global, based in Solon, Ohio.

American Airlines too, said that the filters have been used on their entire mainline fleet, and most regional jets, since the late 1990s. JetBlue deploys them as well.

The filters are not just for airlines either. Norwegian Cruise Line is immediately implementing the filters on its entire fleet and hotels are also doing their best to implement better air systems.

Of course, nothing is a guarantee, and airlines, hotels and cruise companies need to tread lightly on claims they make about the effectiveness of filters. But HEPA filters may just become part of a traveler’s requirements before making plans, and spending money.

Photo Credit: American Airlines A300 Main Cabin. HEPA filters help keep the air blowing through the cabin safe for passengers. Cory W. Watts / Flickr