Hotels and Airlines Assure Travelers of Cleanliness

Hotels and Airlines Assure Travelers of Cleanliness

Travel providers take a squeaky-clean approach to business
Brian Murray
AAA Travel Updates

With pent-up demand for traveling expected once the pandemic passes, many travelers will be anxious to vacation and check destinations off their bucket lists. Yet it’s only natural to wonder if hotels and airlines are safe and clean before venturing out on a trip. AAA Western and Central New York has compiled this list for travelers to evaluate properties and understand what is being done to protect their health and safety. Traveling with peace of mind is the best way to travel – curious travelers should work with their trusted AAA Travel Consultant before making travel arrangements so that all of their needs are being met.


Hilton Hotels (Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, HGI, Hampton Inns, Tru, Homewood Suites, Home2)

“We take great pride in maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. In response to the coronavirus, we have taken additional measures developed in consultation with global and local public health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to make our cleaning and hygiene protocols even more rigorous”:

Hilton CleanStay builds upon Hilton’s already high standards of housekeeping and hygiene, where hospital-grade cleaning products and upgraded protocols are currently in use. The program will feature Lysol’s trusted cleaning products, solutions and training in North America. RB and Hilton are also exploring opportunities to expand the program into a global partnership. The program will include:

  • Hilton CleanStay Room Seal to indicate that guest rooms haven’t been accessed since they were cleaned
  • Extra disinfection of top 10 high touch areas in guest rooms including light switches and door handles
  • Increased cleaning frequency of public areas
  • Guest-accessible disinfecting wipes at entrances and high traffic areas
  • Enhanced cleaning for fitness centers 
  • Reduced paper amenities (like pads and guest directories) in rooms
  • Enhanced cleaning & other changes to buffets, in-room dining and meeting spaces
  • Industry-leading contactless check-in and check-out with Digital Key at more than 4,700 properties globally
  • Evaluation of new technologies like electrostatic sprayers with disinfecting mist and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects
  • Enhanced Team Member safety and well-being with personal protective equipment and enhanced training and protocols

“We have activated our regional and global response teams to provide around-the-clock assistance to our hotels and are prepared to act swiftly should we be alerted to a case of coronavirus at one of our properties.”


Best Western The We Care Clean program addresses five key areas in our hotels:
1.      Front Desk and Lobby:

  • New protocols will minimize guest contact with personnel through a streamlined check-in and check-out process such as the use of Best Western’s Mobile Concierge platform.
  • Social distancing measures will be implemented, wellness best practices signs will be prominently posted, and all lobby brochures, magazines, and papers will be removed.
  • Enhanced sanitization procedures will be in place at the front desk, in the lobby, and across guest touchpoints throughout the hotel with disinfecting taking place regularly.
  • Sanitizing stations or wipes will be available throughout hotels.

2.      Guest Room and Housekeeping:

  • Enhanced and thorough cleaning protocols will be implemented in guest rooms. If possible, guest rooms will not be entered for 24 to 72 hours after check-out, at which time the room, linens, and all touchpoints, for example, faucets, door handles, light switches, thermostats, clocks, and hangers will be cleaned with chemicals aimed at killing COVID-19.

3.      Temporary Breakfast Offerings:
While recognizing the importance of quality breakfast, offerings have been adapted to prioritize your health and safety, including:

  • Breakfast offerings that comply with local regulations, with breakfast rooms closed were required to avoid unnecessary guest congregation.
  • Enhanced ‘Grab & Go’ offerings will be implemented in most hotels providing guests with pre-packaged food and beverage options.
  • Hotels may opt to provide a “served” or pre-plated breakfast to minimize guest contact with food, beverages and surfaces, and cross-contamination.  

4.      Public Amenities:

  • When allowed to open, public amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and meeting rooms will be cleaned on closely monitored schedules with disinfecting chemicals. Each evening, these areas may also be sanitized with the use of electrostatic fogging, ozone generators, or ultraviolet devices (once available).
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes will be provided for guests and employees in all public areas.

5.      Hotel Employees and Staff Requirements:

  • Hotel employees will follow strict guidelines, including utilizing Personal Protective Equipment, frequent and stringent hand-washing protocols, and housekeepers/laundry staff will wear both gloves and a mask.
  • Employee workstations will be cleaned and disinfected after every shift.
  • Employees will be empowered to stay home if unwell, communicate their potential exposure to COVID-19 with management, and will be fully educated on how to maintain a safe and clean home. 


Marriott Hotels (Ritz Carlton, Sheraton Delta, Courtyard, Four points, Fairfield Inn Springhill Suites, Residence Inn, Townplace, Element)

Marriott Commitment to Cleanliness:

“We take standards for hygiene and cleanliness very seriously and are taking additional steps to ensure the safety of our guests and associates. On a daily basis, our hotels around the world are working to ensure that they meet the latest guidance on hygiene and cleaning. Our hotels’ health and safety measures are designed to address a broad spectrum of viruses, including COVID-19, and include everything from handwashing hygiene and cleaning product specifications to the guest room and common area cleaning procedures.”

Specific steps Marriott is taking include: 

Associate Health, Safety, and Knowledge: Hotel associates – and their own health, safety, and knowledge – are essential to an effective cleaning program. Here are some ways we’re supporting them:

  • Hand Hygiene: Proper and frequent handwashing is vital to help combat the spread of viruses. In our daily meetings, our teams are reminded that cleanliness starts with this simple act. It’s important for their health and that of our guests.
  • Ongoing Training: In addition to training on housekeeping and hygiene protocols, hotel associates are also completing enhanced COVID-19 awareness training.
  • Real-Time Information: Marriott’s Corporate and regional teams are on standby 24/7 to support the hotels and coordinate with local and regional authorities.

Cleaning Products and Protocols: Our hotels use cleaning products and protocols which are effective against viruses, including:

  • Guest Rooms: Hotels use cleaning and disinfecting protocols to clean rooms after guests depart and before the next guest arrives, with particular attention paid to high-touch items.
  • Public Spaces: Hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in public spaces, with a focus on the counter at the front desk, elevators, and elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms, and even room keys.
  • Back of House: In the spaces where associates work “behind the scenes,” hotels are increasing the frequency of cleaning and focusing on high-touch areas like associate entrances, locker rooms, laundry rooms, and staff offices.

When guests check into Marriott’s hotels over the next few months, they will notice a number of additions to the company’s regimen designed to set an even higher standard of cleanliness for the hotels. Specific areas of focus include:

  • Surface Areas: In public spaces, the company has added to its already rigorous cleaning protocols, requiring that surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency. In guest rooms, Marriott has added to its detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. The company will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
  • Guest Contact: To help alleviate the risk of COVID-19 transmission through person-to-person contact, Marriott will be using signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and will remove or rearrange furniture to allow more space for distancing. The company is planning to add partitions at the front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for its guests and associates and is working with supply chain partners to make masks and gloves available to associates. You’ll see more hand sanitizing stations around Marriott’s hotels – near the entrances and front desks, elevator banks and fitness, and meeting spaces.

In addition, in more than 3,200 of the company’s hotels, guests can choose to use their phones to check-in, access their rooms, make special requests, and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact. These “touchless” services can all be done quickly via Marriott’s mobile app.

  • Food Safety: At Marriott, food handlers and supervisors are trained on safe food preparation and service practices. The company’s food and beverage operations are required to conduct self-inspection using its food safety standards as guidelines, and compliance is validated by independent audits. Marriott is also enhancing sanitation guidelines and training videos for associates that include hygiene and disinfecting practices. In addition, the company is modifying its operational practices for in-room dining and designing new approaches to buffets.



Holiday Inn (Intercontinental, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Crown Plaza, Regent)

“Our number one priority is your health, safety, and well-being. We are closely monitoring developments around the world and are in contact with global organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and relevant authorities for country-specific requirements, to ensure the actions we take are comprehensive and suitable.” 

“All our hotels are required to adhere to comprehensive health and safety procedures including all local laws. In addition, we provide our hotels with best practices and guidelines and have supplemented these resources with additional COVID-19 cleanliness specific guidance, training, and information consistent with our own high standards.

  • Activation of response teams to provide around-the-clock assistance to our hotels.
  • Hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning public areas (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms) and high-touch points in guest rooms.
  • All hotels have been advised on cleaning products and protocols which are effective against viruses.



Hyatt Hotels 

Confident in Our Care
Providing safe and clean environments for our guests and colleagues is always a top priority for Hyatt hotels globally. We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of cleanliness and want you to feel at ease when you visit Hyatt hotels, knowing you’ll experience the quality you expect from the Hyatt brand.

Hyatt has proudly announced the Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, which focuses on the safety and wellbeing of colleagues and guests in a COVID-19 world and beyond. The commitment includes plans for hotel-level health and sanitization accreditation and hygiene specialists, as well as a working group of trusted medical and industry advisors. Visit Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment to learn more about the steps Hyatt is taking to further enhance our existing rigorous protocols.
In addition, comprehensive COVID-19 guidance is in place at Hyatt hotels globally, detailing how to protect against transmission of the virus (including implementing hand sanitizer stations and frequent cleaning of high-touch areas), and procedures in case there is a suspected or confirmed case among our guests or colleagues.

We believe in responsible and safe travel while staying vigilant and following procedures and protocols developed in consideration of guidance and information shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other leading organizations and experts.

The below precautionary and response measures are helping us continue to provide a safe and clean environment:

  • Comprehensive COVID-19 guidance is in place at Hyatt hotels globally, detailing how to protect against transmission of the virus (including implementing hand sanitizer stations and frequent cleaning of high-touch areas), and procedures in case there is a suspected or confirmed case among our guests or colleagues.
  • Cross-functional, global response teams, including infectious diseases and occupational health experts, provide guidance to Hyatt hotels, and help address specific needs and situations when needed.
    We believe in responsible and safe travel while staying vigilant and following the recommended procedures and protocols by the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local authorities.
    Hyatt hotels continue to welcome business and leisure travelers with our established operational excellence and commitment to care.



Hertz Car Rental

“Hertz thanks those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic by having proudly provided $2 million in free vehicle rentals to more than 2,000 healthcare workers in New York City. See more from our CEO.”

“Whether you rent a car at the airport or at one of our nearly 3,000 convenient neighborhood locations, Hertz is here to get you there. Our focus remains on going the extra mile to get you where you need to be.”

“We want to share some additional measures taking place that demonstrate our commitment to keeping you informed and going the extra mile to get you where you need to be safely and with confidence.”

With cleanliness and safety top of mind for travelers, now more than ever, we are introducing enhanced sanitization of our vehicles - Hertz Gold Standard Clean.* Before we rent any vehicle, they are cleaned and disinfected to follow CDC guidelines with our 15-point cleaning process. We use our EPA approved, Hertz Total Disinfectant, and seal the vehicle for the protection of our travelers. These additional steps will allow your members the peace of mind of when traveling on the road with Hertz and AAA.


  • Around the world, we have enhanced our cleaning methods at our locations and our shuttle buses including using approved disinfectant to regularly wipe down high-touch areas such as door handles, counters, kiosks, and other hard surfaces.
  • We’ve added more alcohol-based hand sanitizers and are reminding employees to take important hygiene steps, including frequent handwashing and staying home if ill.
  • For our vehicles, we are reinforcing our rigorous cleaning process which includes priority areas such as door handles, steering wheel, dashboard, console, seats, etc.

Flexible Reservations:

  • We have waived young renter fees and lowered the renter age from 20 to 18 years old to help college students and young drivers returning home or needing transportation.
  • We added flexibility for prepaid reservations, including waiving cancellation and change fees for travel restricted areas. Additionally, all prepaid reservations booked prior to March 13 can now be extended toward reservations used within 24 months with no fees. Customers still have the option to cancel with applicable fees. Prepaid rental reservations booked directly through may be extended at View/Modify/Cancel.
  • And as always, Hertz’s pay later option has the ultimate flexibility with no cancellation fees, ever.

“As the impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, please know we remain committed to providing you the exceptional experience and service you expect from Hertz.”



Traveler Tips when traveling by air:

  1. Check-in for your flight on your phone through the airline app.
  2. Make sure you have your flight notifications on.
  3. Arrive at your flight in advance because there’s a reduction in the onsite parking.
  4. Wear a facemask and bring sanitary cleansers with you, you can also check the CDC website for even more updated guidelines.
  5. Many airlines have blocked seats to keep unoccupied for social distancing.


Delta Airlines

“Delta has doubled down on its regular cleaning program while adding a fogging process – often used by the food industry– to disinfect trans-oceanic aircraft interiors. As trans-oceanic flights come in, fogging takes place after initial cleaning, this time with tray tables lowered and overhead bins and lavatory doors open. Seatback entertainment touch-screens are given an extra cleanse using disinfectant wipes."

More details available at



American Airlines

  • Our cleaning practices have always met or exceeded all CDC guidelines. 
  • Our planes are cleaned each day at key touchpoints with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
  • International flights and planes with additional time on the ground receive a 30-point cleaning package each day. 
  • All our planes also undergo a deep cleaning procedure on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • We’re enhancing our cleaning procedures on international flights and planes that stay overnight at an airport. 
  • Most of our planes have High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that provide a complete air change approximately 15 – 30 times per hour. 
  • We’re providing hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for crew members on all international flights. 

More details available at



United Airlines

United has stated that its standard aircraft-cleaning procedures will include a “thorough wipe-down of all hard surfaces touched by customers and employees — including lavatories, galleys, tray tables, window shades and armrests." For this cleaning procedure, United said it is using a high-grade disinfectant and multipurpose cleaner.

New inflight-service procedures are being introduced too. United said it has stopped refilling used cups and glasses in all cabins. 

More details available at




The airlines have committed to disinfecting common surfaces more frequently at airport terminals, along with increasing overall cleaning efforts.  

JetBlue offers additional disinfecting wipes to customers onboard. JetBlue has also suspended their hot towel service to avoid the spreading virus. 

More details available at




Southwest Airlines has committed to cleaning aircraft with disinfectant for at least six hours each night, along with usual cleaning in between flights - procedures that meet or exceed recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Southwest planes are also equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that "filter out recirculated air onboard each plane to remove airborne particles."  

More details available at




Major Airlines

By now, major airlines are requiring face masks for all passengers.  They have all enhanced their cleaning and sanitizing protocol before, during, and after each flight.  In addition, when possible they are “blocking” seats from being occupied to help with social distancing.  It is best to check the website for each carrier for the latest passenger requirements and sanitation updates.




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