Sea-Tac workers call on Delta, other airlines, and contractors to follow infection control guidelines

A delegation of workers and community members brought our health and safety concerns to the ticket counter of Delta Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the country with a rapidly growing presence in Sea-Tac Airport.

Delta management refused to talk to us. So we talked to the gathered news cameras instead.


“We need to know if this airport and these airlines are ready,” said Alex Hoopes, an airport worker who used to clean airplane cabins. “They need to follow the latest CDC guidelines to protect workers and passengers here at Sea-Tac.”

We knew it would be a challenge to get Delta and the other airlines to listen. Just last week, the CEO of Delta Airlines claimed “you really can’t catch Ebola on an airplane.”

While the risk of disease is vanishingly small when proper infection control guidelines are being followed, airport workers come into contact with blood, vomit, urine, and other bodily fluids from wheelchairs, aircraft cabins, and bathrooms — often without receiving the basic cleaning equipment and proper training needed to keep themselves and the public safe.

Management wouldn’t even come out to hear our concerns, but we will keep pushing for Delta, their contractors and the other airport employers to follow the latest CDC guidelines to protect both the workers and passengers from infectious diseases.

“This is about safety,” Alex said into the cameras. “These companies need to do right by us and their passengers and do the right thing around these health issues.”