Sunday, 5 July 2020

Qatar Airways now demands passengers wear face shields in addition to a face masks

The Doha based airline has now announced another layer of protective equipment required for all passengers -  a face shield.......not in place of a face mask,  but in addition to it.

The airline has decided to make the new rule mandatory for all passengers,  even children over the age of two, and must be worn from when they are received - either at check-in at  Hamad International Airport (HIA) or at the departure gate at all other airports.

Once on the aircraft, passengers will be provided with a complimentary protective kit which contains a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel. In Business Class customers will also be offered an additional 75ml sanitiser gel tube.

The double layer of protection may seem to be excessive and will undoubtedly make it more difficult for people to breath onboard a hit and stuffy packed jet, but will it make people safer?  

Yes and no,    yes the added protection of a face shield can, according to public health experts in the UK, but the added level of protection in an aircraft,  where people are all facing the same direction, with seats in front, acting as a major barrier, is so infinitely small it is negligible. 

The airline has also introduced new disposable protective gowns for cabin crew that are fitted over their uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves and a mask. The new branded gowns are personalised with Qatar Airways’ logo imprinted on the top left corner. 

Business Class customers are asked to wear their face shield and mask onboard at their own discretion, as they enjoy more space and privacy.

The face masks, face shields and gloves should be used throughout the journey, during boarding and disembarkation as well as the flight.  Most airports also require people passing through wear a face mask/covering. 

Economy Class meals and cutlery are served sealed as usual, and menu cards have been temporarily discontinued. 
Business Class meals are served covered on a tray instead of a table set up, and a cutlery wrap is offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service, in an effort to minimise contact between crew and passengers. 
All social areas onboard the aircraft have been closed adhering to the social distancing measures.

Qatar Airways’ aircraft are regularly disinfected using cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

The aircraft all feature the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection.

All the airline’s onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, while its headsets are rigorously sanitised after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves.

Cabin crew have received training on how to minimise their chances of contracting or spreading the infection, are thermally screened before the departure of flights and after their arrival, and are quarantined and tested if any colleagues or passengers on a flight shows any symptoms of infection or test positive for the virus.

In addition, Hamad International Airport (HIA) has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. All passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and every boarding gate and bus gate counter is cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitizers are provided at immigration and security screening points.

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