DOHA – As a handful of airlines cautiously begins to restore international services, those passengers jumping back on board are encountering a new way of flying.
Passengers flying Qatar Airways will be met on board by cabin crew wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits.
Cabin crew have been wearing some PPE items during flights but the new requirement is for cabin crew to now wear PPE suits over their uniforms in addition to safety goggles, gloves and a mask.
Qatar passengers from Monday, May 25, must wear their own coverings inflight.
Qatar Airways crew in full protective gear, including goggles.
Singapore Airlines has introduced a range of measures to be implemented when services resume.
They include pre-flight health assessments and temperature checks for passengers, as well as asking them to wear masks throughout their flight and follow safe distancing procedures when embarking, disembarking and queuing for the lavatory.
Changes to in-flight meals include replacing the meal service with a snack bag on some sectors. SIA will also suspend its hot towel service, and remove menu cards and seatback literature such as magazines.
Said SIA's spokesperson, "We have not mandated the empty middle seat as our customers may want to sit together with their families or partners, or may have young children, and we need to cater to that.
"However, if customers wish to sit apart from other passengers, we can reassign seats at the gate to create more space for them if seats are available.”
Qantas and its budget arm Jetstar announced this week that passengers will wear face masks and be encouraged to check in online.
But the Aussie carrier has stopped short of keeping middle seats free onboard its aircraft.
Qantas medical director Ian Hosegood said social distancing wasn’t practical on planes, and unnecessary given the low on-board transmission risk.
“The extra measures we’re putting in place will reduce the risk even further,” Dr Hosegood said.