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.