In the past few months, airlines around the world have rolled out a series of safety initiatives in an effort to boost confidence in commercial air travel during the global coronavirus pandemic. Most airlines have adopted similar measures like mandating face masks, putting up physical barriers at counters at airports, and giving passengers kits with hand sanitising wipes and masks.
But not every carrier’s approach is exactly the same. Some airlines are taking things further, for example, Delta has promised to leave middle seats empty until 2021, and Qatar Airways is asking passengers to wear face shields on top of their masks.
Below is a round-up of safety videos posted by some airlines showing what passengers can expect when flying with them.
All the airlines listed below are requiring passengers to wear face masks during flights.
At the airport
Passengers travelling with British Airways will see safe distancing markers at the airport and boarding gates, as well as hand sanitising stations next to check-in kiosks and arrivals desks, says the carrier.
A “Personal Protection Pack” containing an antibacterial wipe and hand sanitiser gel will be given to passengers onboard. BA is only giving blankets and bedding to its passengers on long-haul flights.
The airline says it is encouraging passengers to stay in their seat as much as possible during the flight.
While meals are still provided on flights, the carrier has made changes to its inflight food options to reduce physical contact. For example, passengers on short-haul economy will get complimentary refreshments along with a bottle of water, while passengers on short-haul business flights will get a light snack offered with a selection of drinks, including soft drinks, juices, water or a hot drink. A selection of alcoholic drink will also be offered. The airline says these will be served either as miniatures or individual quarter bottles.
At the airport
Passengers can expect to see screens and physical distancing markers during check-in and boarding. They can also opt for online check-in and boarding to avoid waiting in lines. Cathay says passengers will also have to sign a health declaration upon check-in. The airline is trialling “antimicrobial coating” across all of its passenger facilities.
The airline says it changes every headset, headset cover, pillow cover and blanket before every flight. Cathay’s “care kits” with essentials like face coverings and anti-septic wipes will be given to passengers. Cabin washrooms are equipped with hand sanitiser.
Cathay says it has blocked off middle seats “wherever possible”.
Passengers can expect a “modified” meal service designed to reduce contact with the crew, says the airline. Cathay has temporarily suspended the pre-meal bar and pre-poured drinks service. Drinks will still be available throughout the flight, noted the airline.
At the airport
Travellers have to confirm at check-in that they will wear a mask and have not experienced symptoms of, been exposed to or been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past 14 days. Passengers can also expect to see hand sanitiser stations, plexiglass shields added to counters and floor decals at the airport to encourage social distancing.
Complimentary “Care Kits” with a face mask and a sanitising wipe are available at the gate. Boarding is now limited to 10 customers at a time, says the US carrier.
Delta is among the many airlines that have blocked middle seats to reduce the number of passengers on each flight.
Passengers will still get blankets, which the airline says are laundered after every flight. The airline says pillows are disposed after every use.
A “social distancing-friendly” exiting style has been adopted by the airline. Flight attendants will cue customers to exit the aircraft and a reminder will be sent to customers through the Fly Delta app.
The US carrier has pared down food and beverage offerings, but it is encouraging passengers to bring TSA-compliant food on board.
More details about the airline’s inflight meals for each individual cabin for both domestic and international flights can be found here.
At the airport
Passengers travelling with Emirates can opt for the airline’s “hygiene kits” when they check in at Dubai International Airport or during their flight to Dubai. These kits have masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser in them.
On arrival at the airport, thermal scanners at various areas monitor the temperatures of all passengers and employees, says the airline.
Physical distancing indicators have been placed on the ground and at waiting areas at check-in, immigration, boarding and transfer areas. Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk and immigration counter.
Emirates’ cabin crew are wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Comfort items such as mattresses, pillows, blankets, headphones and toys will be “hygienically sealed,” says the airline.
In premium classes, single use menus and wine lists will be provided to passengers. Emirates says it will resume its service with hot meals “using high quality, cutlery and crockery, sterilised before each use”.
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has asked the airline for details on inflight meals and drinks currently being served in Economy Class.
At the airport
Face shields will be given to all passengers at airports and they have to keep them on during boarding and when leaving the plane. Economy Class passengers are required to wear them on board, except when eating or drinking. Wearing face shields throughout the flight is optional for travellers in the Business Class cabin (except when boarding and leaving the plane).
Passengers travelling from Hamad International Airport (HIA) will receive their face shields at the check-in counters, while face shields will be distributed at the boarding gates at all other destinations.
The airline is advising passengers to check-in online and arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight.
Complimentary protective kits with a single-use surgical face mask, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser gel will be given to passengers. Business Class passengers will also be offered an additional 75ml sanitiser gel tube.
All social areas onboard the aircraft have been closed.
Passengers can still expect to get blankets and other “onboard linen”. The airline says these are “washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures”. Meanwhile, headsets are “rigorously sanitised” after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing disposable gloves, says the carrier.
Business Class meals are served covered on a tray instead of a table set up, and cutlery wrap is offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service, according to the carrier. Qatar Airways has also introduced single-use menu cards. Economy Class meals and cutlery are served sealed, and menu cards have been temporarily discontinued, added the airline.
At the airport
At the airport, passengers flying with Singapore Airlines will have to fill out a basic health declaration and provide their travel history at the airport. Travellers entering Singapore have to submit an electronic health declaration up to three days before their flight.
The airline is also urging passengers to check in online or via the SingaporeAir mobile app 48 hours to 90 minutes before flight departure.
Passengers can expect to see social distancing markers and hand sanitiser at Changi airport. Complimentary kits containing a face mask, hand sanitiser and disinfectant will also be provided, says the airline.
The airline has dedicated seating zones on board to separate transit passengers from non-transit passengers. Passengers have to stay in their designated zone throughout the flight.
Headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, bedsheets and blankets will still be available but will be replaced after every flight, according to the airline. Children’s amenities and baby kit bags, as well as arrival cards, have been temporarily suspended to minimise contact.
SIA says passengers can use the SingaporeAir mobile app to remotely control the inflight entertainment system from their phones to reduce touch.
Meal services have been suspended for all flights within Southeast Asia and to Mainland China. Snack bags are provided as a replacement.
For all other flights, meal services have been simplified. Alcohol offerings have also been adjusted across all classes.
At the airport
Virgin Australia says passengers will be notified to update their contact details to assist with contact tracing before they arrive at the airport. At some airports, travellers can expect to see hygiene screens throughout check-in areas where they will be asked to fill out a pre-flight health screening questionnaire. Passengers will have to scan their own boarding pass to limit contact with crew.
Cabin crew will make “Covid-safe announcements” throughout the flight. Passengers can ask for kits with hand sanitiser and face masks.
Travellers will only get water and one snack during their flight.