Air passengers told to wear face masks to stop spread coronavirus

Air passengers told to wear face masks
Some airlines are now requiring passengers to wear face masks. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: To limit the spread of the virus, some major airlines are now requiring passengers to wear face masks on flights.

Many big US airlines this week are bringing in new health and safety policies for both passengers and cabin crew.

Other carriers around the world are also making mask-wearing mandatory for when they restart flights.

While around 90% of international flights have been canceled due to coronavirus pandemic, airlines hope to gradually resume air travel starting this month.

US carrier Delta said on Monday that it requires passengers to wear a mask or other face-covering in the check-in area, boarding gate areas, premium lounges and onboard planes for the whole flight.

United and American Airlines have also said that they will start requiring masks for passengers, along with cabin crew. The carriers say these are temporary measures as they slowly resume flights.

Kurt Stache, a spokesman for American Airlines, said: “We are looking out for our customers’ well-being to give them peace of mind while they travel with us. We’re moving quickly on these enhancements and we’ll continue to improve the travel experience for our customers and team members as we navigate these times together.”

United Airlines spokesperson Maddie King said: “Face coverings will be mandatory for all passengers, and (we) will provide masks to passengers for free.”

But all airlines are following the same suit.

Australia’s Qantas said there “are no requirements in Australia to wear masks. No decisions have been made by the Government or airlines about what measures will be put in place for travel once restrictions are lifted.”

The national carrier of Australia said on its website: “While the risk of contracting coronavirus on board an aircraft is regarded as low, social distancing has been put in place across all flights.”

The airline is currently following guidelines from Australia’s chief medical officer. When it comes to a global policy for airlines to follow, there are a number of bodies that could offer guidance including the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

A spokesperson for the association said: “The use of face covering inflight is among the measures proposed in an industry roadmap for the restart of flights that we are discussing with industry stakeholders and governments.”

Other measures for passengers

Airlines are bringing in a range of safety measures onboard to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but It is unclear if these will be for long term measures or temporary.

Major pre-flight cleaning measures to disinfect heavily used areas are being widely used along with reducing the number of people on each flight.

Passengers are also being encouraged to pack their own drinks and food to decrease contact.

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