Coronavirus: What airlines, travellers are expected to do on flights

* Global airlines ban alcohol, require consumers’ use of nose masks onboard

*Delta, Southwest, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, others endorse health mask policy

* Travellers violating new rules may have their flying privileges revoked

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Many consumers of aviation services were said to have wondered if they ever thought that there would come a time when airlines would require every passenger to wear a mask and stop selling alcohol on flight.

Now, report says it is the new normal, as one after another, airlines have been drawing new lines in the sand with fresh Coronavirus-related restrictions.

The United Airlines, for example, recently issued a comprehensive list of mandates that included confirmation from passengers that they have not had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks before the flight they’re boarding, according to ConsumerAffairs.

The industry trade organisation representing the leading domestic carriers, airlines will no longer be doing their own thing when it comes to face coverings, stated the report.

As carriers prepare for reopening, airlines such as Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines have all agreed on a sweeping, uniform, health mask policy.

In respect of any revoked flying privileges, it was learnt A4A declares its entire membership will be “vigorously” enforcing face-covering policies for both passengers and crew.

By “vigorously,” the organisation means that face coverings will have to cover both the nose and mouth, not just hanging from the ear on an as-needed basis, stated the report.

Specific things the airlines and travellers are expected to do:

Pre-flight communications: Each airline will inform its individual face-covering policy in all communications with customers (e.g., email and reservation confirmations), which may require passengers to tick a box saying they acknowledge the specific rules during the check-in process.

Onboard announcements: Aboard each flight, crew members will announce details regarding their airline’s face covering policy, including the consequences passengers could face for not adhering to the policy.

Consequences for noncompliance: Rather than a uniform punishment for defaulters, each carrier will be expected to create the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance with the airline’s face covering policy. A4A says the airlines have broad powers in this regard, saying, “up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline,” said the report.

American Airlines, for instance, maintains that its line on masks is hard and fast; the company says it will deny boarding to consumers who don’t comply.

Adding an extra dare, American Airlines says it may also deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering.

As regards dry flights, it is said that as consumers turned to alcohol to relieve stress caused by COVID-19 and produced a sales boom, the airlines have decided to put their alcoholic beverages under lock and key for the near future, despite what profit might be had.

Pronto the US Airlines like Delta, Southwest, and American, along with European carriers, including Easyjet and KLM, and Asia-centric Virgin Australia, are all suspending either some or part of their alcoholic beverage service in response to the Csoronavirus.

If a cocktail is a must, some airlines will have them available in First Class and/or on long-haul international flights.

Although the changes may sound drastic, the airlines can’t run the risk of the added interaction between passengers and crew members, said the report.

Passengers should also be prepared for limitations on other beverages. As an example, Southwest Airlines and Virgin Australia are serving water only for the time being.

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