How Chinese Airlines Are Changing Inflight Service To Stop Spread Of Coronavirus

Will Horton outlines how Chinese airlines still operating flights are working to contain coronavirus.

  • Spread out. Planes are empty anyway, choose a window seat to be farther away from other passengers. Passenger seat assignments are being spread out throughout the cabin.

  • Break up service. Flight attendants are told to serve small sections of the cabin, then restock, “to curb risk of cross-contamination.”

  • Wear masks. Passengers should wear masks (this seems to limit some spread from infected people, rather than protecting non-infected). They are told to limit food and water on board, because they have to take face masks off to eat and drink.

  • Limit food and drink. Meal service has been cut back.

    Long-haul business should provide a main meal in a foil box with disposable cutlery, cups and napkins. There are no canapés, soups, salads, bread or desserts. Pillows and blankets are no longer distributed.

  • Avoid using the lav. Less food and drink means fewer visits to the lavatory, which is also a goal because those aren’t being cleaned between passenger uses.

  • Don’t speak. Crew are told to limit communication with passengers.

  • Quarantine. The last 3 rows of aircraft are used to quarantine passengers showing symptoms inflight. To detect fever Chinese carriers “now carry onboard non-contact temperature detectors, similar to the ones used at airports to check passengers.”

American Airlines won’t risk delays to keep planes clean and British Airways has tested not bothering to clean planes at all on intra-European routes. In Asia, though, airlines are focused on disinfecting:

China Airlines said staff would particularly clean overhead bin latches and hand grips while Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong lounges have signs saying handrails are sanitized every two hours. Cold food that used to be left uncovered now has cling wrap over it, but accessing the food requires hand contact or tricky use of tongs.

It would be great if airlines around the world followed suit, and not just because of coronavirus.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You have no credibility and it shows! You just had to, at all costs, find a way to take a cheap shot at AA and BA neither of whom are even currently operating flights into China so what is your point in relation to the corona virus in CHINA.

    If they were operating flights into China you would have a point but they are not.

    Good Lord!

  2. Whoa, Gary. That’s quite a rip and repost you’ve done there. One or two pars and a link, fine. But where is your original reporting? I’m stunned. You’re better than this.

  3. Limit food and drink. Meal service has been cut back.
    Crew are told to limit communication with passengers.

    Sounds exactly like today’s AA.

  4. I just just transited HKK a couple of days ago and i can promise you that the food is NOT wrapped up and in all of my time in the lounges i didn;t see a single thing sterilised.

    Lots of words from China and Chinese airlines but not much action.

  5. It would be great to have all of the cleaning continue for Planes at least disinfection once a day to all areas..

  6. Yeah, Gary, like ryby says, you should stop being so mean to poor, helpless AA and BA. It’s not AA’s fault that they have no seatback entertainment and ultra-dense, ultra-discount carrier type seating density, or that their flight attendants couldn’t care less. Ya big bully, stop it.

  7. @Mary, gosh, feel free to send me an email I would love to discuss. I linked to the piece at the very top, this isn’t a “hat tip” sort of thing at the bottom of the bost and I and even bolded the name of the person who did the reporting to OPEN the post. In other words, I give FULL CREDIT for the ideas here. So I’m rather stunned by the criticism.

  8. @ryby- LOL – more cases currently of coronavirus in the US now than in Macau. American and BA better get busy wiping things down!

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