The mask turned label on planes that still traverse the skies of the world because of the pandemic. In the airports from United States the security check will include the measurement of passenger temperature.
The dutch line KLM ask for one affidavit of health to passengers traveling from risk areas of COVID-19, and you can refuse to take those you consider with symptoms. air France removed the privilege of boarding first from the executive class and complete the passage from the back of the plane forward to avoid crowds in the hallways. Ryanair banned waiting lines to use the bathroom and asks the passengers raise your hand when they want to.
China Southern and other companies do not place passengers in the intermediate seat between the window and hallway to keep the social distance. Xiamen Air reserve your last three rows of seats for sick passengers. The staff on board of Qatar Airways carry equipment personal protection against biological hazards.
Those have been the first steps of the new era that the coronavirus started — perhaps temporarily, until a vaccine- in the air travel.
"In the messure that relax containment measures, airlines chart a path out of hibernation, which includes reformulating routes and services and seeking a balance between safety protocols and the challenge of convincing passengers to board the closed space of an aircraft during a pandemic”, Presented The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Many airlines have removed the magazines on board, reduced or suspended food and beverage service and ordered the descent of the plane in groups passengers to avoid crowding in the rush to leave. Executives estimate that, due to low demand, Fewer direct flights to be replaced by stopover flights. Some analyze the possibility of requesting immunity passports to travelers: a document that proves you were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered.
Even a prototype of acrylic panel that separates passengers. The French aeronautical engineer Florian Barjot patented PlanBay, a structure that can be temporarily added to aircraft without changing their interior design, but which in practice removes the middle seat: there the plexiglass separator to create social distance between passengers.
"Modern aircraft have efficient air systems to prevent contagion from one person to all passengers, but health authorities recommend a distance of one meter, which is difficult to achieve in economic classeven if the middle seat is left empty, ”wrote Barjot on his product's website. "To improve the distance, I imagined this removable kit for unused seat, which can be used temporarily during an outbreak and in the recovery phase. ”
Airlines, which in recent years They increased their income precisely by reducing the space between passengers In the main cabin, to transport more people on each flight, they don't get excited about PlanBay. Many agreed to leave the middle seat empty (in the case of Delta this is the case for all their flights until July) since there were so few people who flew that in practice they did not change their billing. But it is not something they can sustain for long, according to WSJ.
"The companies can't afford the costs of leaving those seats empty"The article explained."Air New Zealand, the flag line of New Zealand, limited seat occupancy to less than fifty% on a turboprop and at 65% in an A320. But flights need a average 77% occupancy to cover costs of operation, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which estimated that the rates would have to increase by 50% to offset the cost of leaving so much empty space in an A320. "
In a document on post-pandemic air navigation, IATA stated that "Does not support mandatory measures of social distance leave the middle seats empty ", and instead" supports the use of masks for passengers and face masks for crew while staying on board as a central part of a multi-biosecurity approach to implement on a temporary basis. ”
In early May Frontier Airlines announced an option: in the same way that in recent times passengers must pay for luggage or choosing a seat, it could be charged $ 39 to ensure someone sits next to an unoccupied place. But some US lawmakers objected to the fee, since it is a matter of public health.
"In China, where internal flights have largely resumed, aviation authorities they have not made official announcements on the criteria of social distance”WSJ continued. “Most airports and airlines require passengers to wear masks and to have their temperature measured. Some, including China Southern AirlinesThey do not allow passengers to sit next to each other. "
For now each company is looking for its options. Southwest limits the number of people who can board a flight, and when you observe that the reserves reach that limit —something that began to happen recently on some routes— add another flight "if there is enough demand to cover operating costs like gasoline," said airline CEO Gary Kelly. “We want at least that income. But limit a flight to 60% of capacity is not a viable solution in the medium or long term"
For others it has not been even in the short term, such as United Airlines, who had to face the outrage caused on social networks by an image of one of his crowded flights. The company announced that "it will begin notify passengers in advance if they have a reservation on a full flight, so they can change their plans, "explained WSJ.
Some airlines deliver personal protective equipment, a replacement for the hygiene and beauty kit in the era of the coronavirus: a self-protection kit containing a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes and a brochure on how to prevent the spread of the virus. "At least throughout 2020, passengers will have to wear masks," Federico Heitz, CEO of Kaelis, a firm that supplies those materials to about 20 airlines, told CNN.
Qatar Airways It has been one of the first to take extreme measures care of your staff: From May 25 it will be mandatory for the crew that is in contact with passengers to use a hazmat suit for protection. Until now, shipboard personnel used gloves and chinstraps; now they will add the equipment against biological hazards and safety glasses. Throughout the cabin there will also be disinfectant bottles of hands.
"It will be less socially acceptable for a person to get on a plane if it is evident that it is not right," the executive director of JetBlueRobin Hayes. “Airlines have to find a way to respond to those situations in a way that allows them remain profitable but at the same time recognize that we don't want sick people on planes"
air France imposed the mandatory temperature taking before each takeoff, and if a passenger is over 38ºC (about 100ºF) access to the cabin will be denied, something that has not happened so far. At the airport of Canberra, Australia, the authorities use thermal cameras to monitor the temperature of travelers when they pass through security. Air canada it does it too with infrared thermometers that avoid contact between people.
But "some critics say that temperature controls could give passengers a confidence that doesn't exist”, Since the coronavirus has a significant incidence of infections asymptomatic. There are also people who resist wearing a mask put on for an entire flight, and it's unclear what can be done legally. Some airlines like Frontier, announced that if someone does not comply with the request, it could lead to divert the plane to reduce the risk. The same disagreement occurs in opinions on the social distance at airports, which offer few possibilities.
Instead, a tacit consensus seems to have emerged on the aircraft cleaning, What is it deeper and more frequent and includes disinfectant sprayers in addition to the hygiene of all internal surfaces between one flight and another.
To that end Delta started to increase time on connections, and for now does not plan to back down even if delays occur, which are costly. If normally the waiting time between one flight and another was 45 minutes and twice as much for internationals, currently, estimates of up to two hours.
Finally, the Destinations they have been affected, and not only by the closing of borders. Operating a 777 on an ambitious route, such as from Los Angeles to Sidney, has a prohibitive cost in times of planes with empty seats. Delta is going to withdraw the 18 that he used for that journey for the rest of the year. Too Qantas removed its direct flights from New York or London to Sydney. American Airlines, which was preparing to launch new international routes - Philadelphia to Casablanca, from Chicago to Krakow, from Seattle to Bangalore- delayed plans until 2021.
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