Cathay Pacific and Korean Air will modify their inflight services on flights to China in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has so far killed more than 130 people in China.
Since January 30, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights to and from destinations in mainland China have been offering a limited service. The meal offered in first class will be the same as the one offered in business class, and trolley services have also been suspended.
Passengers travelling in first and business class both get a single tray with an appetizer, main course and dessert served together.
“This modified service offering is strictly a temporary measure designed to further strengthen our health and safety protocols in light of the evolving situation regarding coronavirus cases in mainland China,” said the airline in a press release.
Passengers travelling in premium economy and economy class on medium to long-duration mainland China flights (such as Shanghai Pudong, Beijing, Ningbo, Hangzhou, Wenzhou, Chengdu, Qingdao, etc.) are served a disposable snack bag including a hot handheld snack.
The airline said the meal offering on shorter services (such as Guangzhou, Changsha, Haikou, Sanya, Xiamen, Fuzhou, etc.), which already comprises a snack service, remains unchanged.
Amenities including hot towels, pillows, blankets and magazines will not be offered to passengers in any cabins during this period. Inflight duty-free sales have also been temporarily suspended.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to coordinate with the health authorities in Hong Kong and in all the ports to which we operate flights” the airline added in a statement.
Hong Kong’s flag carrier is also allowing crew members to wear surgical masks on all its flights.
Korean Air has also changed its inflight services in an effort to minimize the risk of infection starting today, January 31. South Korea’s flag carrier said disposable cutlery will be used to serve inflight meals on all China routes, which will then be disposed of in sealed plastic bags to prevent cross infection.
The airline will not give out blankets and pillows, and inflight meals for return flights from Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei and Shanghai, which the airline said are usually supplied locally, will be loaded at the time of departure from Incheon.
Korean Air has also advised its flight attendants to wear masks and plastic gloves on all routes, and the airline is loading each flight with equipment in preparation for any possible infection onboard such as masks for passengers “seated near suspicious patients” and hazmat suits for flight attendants who may need to take care of onboard patients.
A number of airlines, including both Korean Air and Cathay Pacific, have either suspended or reduced flights to mainland China as more governments around the world are advising against travel to mainland China.