Before your next air travel, prepare for the new frontline defense of airlines and airports to prevent infection by the novel coronavirus
The unrelenting strike of the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to alarm the entire world. With the increasing number of confirmed cases across the globe, different industries have experienced changes, and even almost every government taking heightened measures to prevent its citizens from getting affected. Of these sectors of society, airlines are the first and most affected as airports have implemented screening measures for both crew and passengers. Major American ones like United Airlines, Delta, and United have suspended flights to and from mainland China from February until April this year. However, those with flights to other destinations continue their preventive measures. Here is a list of the changes you must look out for on your next air travel.
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Airports across the globe have begun screening measures of the passengers, no matter the nature of their flight. Upon entering the airport, the staff uses thermometer guns to scan and identify one’s surface temperature. Although there are ongoing studies on the effectivity of these infrared temperature measurements, the World Health Organization (WHO) remains positive it can reduce the “risk of importation of the disease.”
Suspension of trolley service
Part of the restrictive measures is removing the trolley service of the in-flight experience. Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Cathay Dragon started serving hand-held snacks in disposable bags while business and first-class passengers receive multi-course meals in a single tray. The new system may be different from having passengers select their meal and choose their coffee or tea. Yet these can certainly prevent the risk of infection.
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Disinfection and wearing of masks and gloves
To further prevent the risk of being affected, even cabin crew wear masks and gloves. Thai Airways and subsidiary THAI Smile have already begun this practice, especially when flying to destinations with a high risk of the coronavirus. Apart from these, they issue disinfection and deep cleaning to the cockpit and passenger seats.
Reduction of inflight entertainment
Singapore Airlines have removed reading materials like magazines inside the seat pocket. Hong Kong Airlines have done similar measures. They no longer serve hot towels, pillows, and duvets to both business and economy class passengers. While they maintained newspapers, it remains essential to keep your hands sanitized after every use of public materials or amenities.
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Discounted airfare and refund fees
The cancellation of flights to and from mainland China has been the first move of most airlines around the world. Given the sudden changes, airlines like Cebu Pacific and the Philippine Airlines offered to rebook or to have a full refund free of any charges. Travelers also have the option to reroute or to store tickets for future use. Others like Cebu Pacific has reduced fares to as low as P88, thereby encouraging domestic travel.
With all these changes to air travel, travelers can be assured that airlines and airports are taking necessary defenses. Nevertheless, we still highly encourage everyone to be vigilant and do their own preventive measures amid the virus outbreak.