By Veronica Inveen
Nov 18, 2020
Traveling through the airport just got safer — and more high tech — as General Electric launched an app so passengers can keep track of the last time a terminal was cleaned.
In a new feature in GE’s “Wellness Trace App,” passengers will be able to track how often an area is cleaned and allow airports to set protocols to do so, as well as keep up with COVID-19 screenings for both passengers and employees, according to the company. To start, the app will be rolled out in the Albany International Airport in New York state.
“We believe [this] digital vision… is exactly the kind of template airports and airlines will need to ensure safe, healthy travel through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” Andrew Coleman, the general manager of GE Aviation’s Digital Group, said in a statement.
The goal, according to GE, is for passengers to be able to offer feedback in real-time about how clean an area looks and create a database similar to Waze. Passengers will then be able to access cleaning information by scanning a QR code. More than 45 QR codes have been placed throughout the airport in Albany.
The public rollout follows a three month trial where the app was used to track cleaning and sanitation protocols.
“Being able to scan a QR code and know the last time that surface at the airport was cleaned may alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty people are feeling as they venture out and bring back a sense of confidence,” Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said in a statement. “Any reassurance we can give people as they travel that they are doing so safely is important.”
The app joins a host of high-tech solutions airports and airlines have tested and implemented to help passengers navigate travel in the post-coronavirus world, including a robot that dispenses antimicrobial spray on United Airlines, a full-body disinfectant machine in the Hong Kong International Airport, a robotic disinfectant machine that uses UV light on JetBlue, and Delta’s antimicrobial bins at TSA checkpoints to keep passengers’ loose items clean.
The effort comes a couple of months after an investigation at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport revealed high-touch points — like bathroom stall doors, elevator buttons, and gate seating — may not be cleaned as thoroughly as they should.