We’re all used to flight attendants handing us earphones or a blanket when we board an aircraft. But, as of now, those of you who are flying are likely to be handed a face mask – if you aren’t wearing one already.
Many airlines have now announced that as well as your passport and boarding pass, a face mask will be compulsory if you want to travel.
Starting on May 4, jetBlue has announced that all passengers will need to wear a face mask in order to board their flight, in a bid to prevent further spread of Covid-19.
The airline’s president and CEO Joanna Geraghty described the new regulations as the “new flying etiquette,” adding that while cabin air is circulated and cleaned every few minutes, passengers need to be considerate of fellow travellers.
Employees at Delta Airlines will be wearing masks, and passengers are also being “strongly urged” to wear one, while American Airlines has also announced its staff will don face masks and crew from Singapore Airlines have been wearing masks as a precautionary measure for a number of weeks already.
Many passengers have already been wearing masks for repatriation flights, whether they were asked to or not. Supermodel Naomi Campbell, for instance, recently posted a series of images of herself wearing a face mask and sanitizing her seat.
Meanwhile, Air Asia has gone even further by designing a new uniform, complete with mask and hood to protect staff during the coronavirus outbreak. The new Air Asia uniforms, which also feature long sleeves and pants, have been designed by Filipino fashion designer Puey Quinones in a shade of red to match the airline’s distinctive livery.
Other airlines which have not already done so are now being urged to follow jetBlue’s lead. “Good job, jetBlue for being the first US airline to take this responsible step,” said the Association of Flight Attendants in a statement.
The move follows measures being considered by a number of airlines, including easyJet and Wizz Air which will see middle seats left empty, and passengers allowed to move to a different seat after take-off, to help with social distancing.