United Airlines used to give its planes’ interiors a thorough cleaning only every 6 months to save cash. But with carriers now fighting for every passenger, cleanliness has become a crucial weapon, the Chicago Tribune reports. Some United planes now get “heavy” cleans every two weeks. “People don’t normally return to a restaurant if they think it’s dirty,” one exec said.
Other airlines are following suit, but the stepped-up cleaning schedule is a logistical feat: Turnaround times are tight, and workers must use specific chemicals to avoid damaging the planes. Some, though, think the effort is a smokescreen to cover up more endemic problems. “You ask people to rate the planes, they notice dirty,” one travel writer said. “They assume late.”