JetBlue Is Testing a Massive UV Light That Disinfects Entire Planes in 10 Minutes

The technology is being tested at New York's JFK and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airports.

Courtesy of Honeywell

Air travel remains one of the most affected industries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn't stopped carriers from innovating for safer cabin experiences. JetBlue, which was among the top-ranked airlines for its COVID-19 response, just announced that it's testing a massive UV light that can disinfect an entire plane in under 10 minutes, majorly reducing the risk of viruses and bacteria. 

The robotic sanitation machine, officially dubbed the Honeywell UV Cabin System, navigates down the aisle with arm-like features that stretch across the seat rows. The technology is programmed to hit the aircraft's high-touched areas, including bathrooms, and has the capability to actually cut down on cleaning time between flights.

"This offering is a big win for our airline customers, which are seeking affordable ways to clean their cabins effectively and quickly between flights," Honeywell Aerospace president and CEO Mike Madsen said in a statement. "Honeywell is working on a range of solutions to help make passengers more comfortable about flying."

Courtesy of Honeywell

And while it may seem like a futuristic fantasy, it's actually not. The UV light treatment is already being tested as part of a 90-day pilot program at two major airports -- New York's JFK and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport -- and only costs companies a few dollars per flight. 

"As we look to add additional layers of protection by utilizing cutting-edge technology, we have identified the Honeywell UV Cabin System as a potential game changer when it comes to efficiently assisting in our efforts to sanitize surfaces onboard," JetBlue president and COO Joanna Geraghty said in a press release Wednesday

In addition to the new UV light technology, JetBlue remains committed to putting customer safety above all else with regular temperature checks, major sanitation efforts, required face coverings, and other health procedures

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.