Clearing the air at Alaska Airlines: See our HEPA filters

Posted: 3 p.m. PT March 6

We’ve been fielding questions from guests and employees alike about air quality onboard our aircraft. While Dr. John Lynch, one of our University of Washington medical experts, has advised coronavirus is not thought to be airborne, our planes are equipped with systems that contain HEPA, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters. They are the same kind of filters found in hospital operating rooms.

“It’s not a self-contained tube with the same air for a six-hour flight,” said Constance von Muehlen, senior vice president of maintenance & engineering. “The air in a cabin comes from the top and flows out from your feet. In fact, there’s a large portion of air that comes directly from outside. Within a three-minute period you get completely new air in the entire cabin.”

If guests want more filtered air, they can simply open the vent above them. It’s important to note that the flight deck, galley areas, and lavatories get air directly from outside the aircraft. That air also gets directly exhausted outside.

Alaska Airlines has one of the newest fleets in the country which ensures our planes have the latest filtration technology in use. Our filters are changed according to manufacturer guidelines.

Studies have shown due to the frequency of cabin air recirculation, that the air onboard planes can be better than the air found in many office buildings.

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