What Canada’s Airlines Are Doing To Help Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Although leisure travel is something that should be avoided for now as the coronavirus pandemic still poses a serious threat, some people still have to fly for a variety of reasons. To protect both passengers and crew as much as possible from the transmission of COVID-19, carriers have instituted numerous safety measures.
Here’s a look at what Canada’s major airlines are doing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus during flights.
In response to a directive from Transport Canada, Air Canada has made masks mandatory. Travellers must now prove they have a suitable face covering such as a cloth mask or scarf prior to boarding. It says masks should be work "at check-in, during the boarding process and during flight on its aircraft."
AC notes that it is implementing physical distancing practices to the best of its ability and is "proactively reseating" customers in Economy as far apart as possible. The airline is also encouraging customers to check-in online or via the Air Canada app rather than at the airport.
Air Canada also reports that it is now making N95 masks and protective single-use gowns available to flight crews, according toForbes. The airline is providing all flight attendants with gloves, antiseptic wipes and hand sanitizer, as well.
During flights, modified procedures include:
For all North American flights: individual bottled water instead of the usual range of beverage offerings, suspension of all food service in Economy and Premium Economy cabins, pre-packaged meal or snack for Business Class;
For all international flights: individual bottled water instead of a range of beverage items, pre-packaged food for all cabins, and the temporary closure of airport lounges.
Like at Air Canada, non-medical face masks are now mandatory at WestJet. WS has also introduced seat distancing by leaving the middle seat empty during flights, and is implementing more stringent aircraft cleaning.
WS is asking pax to adhere to new coronavirus safety guidelines, such as:
Keep six feet between guests when boarding;
Use WestJet app to download and display boarding passes;
Use the disinfectant wipes provided to wipe down seats and table trays;
Avoid lining up for the washrooms during flights.
As of April 20, the airline requires that all pax wear face coverings as much as possible during all parts of their travel journey.
Various other new safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include:
Boarding the aircraft only five rows at a time to limit the number of people waiting to board;
Seat assignments are being staggered throughout the cabin to ensure safe distances between pax;
Onboard sales and services have been temporarily suspended; pax must bring their own refreshments;
In response to the Minister of Transport’s new travel requirement that pax must wear face coverings, Flair is providing complimentary non-medical masks at check-in counters for passengers unable to provide their own.
The airline has introduced other COVID-19 travel safety measures, such as enhanced sanitation practices that include:
Deep cleaning and disinfecting of all hard touch areas;
Installation of HEPA filters;
Increased availability of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.