Almost every airline is currently requiring passengers to wear masks, and airBaltic is no exception. However, in an exclusive interview with Simple Flying, the airline’s CEO, Martin Gauss, said that we shouldn’t expect masks to become the new normal in the long term.
Many countries have mandated mask-wearing, and airlines have engaged such policies where it is not a legal requirement. Indeed, just days ago, we saw United Airlines threaten to blacklist passengers not wearing masks.
Most passengers have happily worn their masks as needed. However, those that aren’t content with wearing a mask while flying will be content to know that airBaltic’s CEO doesn’t see it as a permanent measure.
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An interim measure
When Simple Flying got the chance to sit down with airBaltic’s CEO, we discussed many things from the UK’s quarantine to operating the world’s youngest fleet. On the subject of mask-wearing, Gauss told us,
“I hope and I believe it will be an interim measure but it’s needed now.”
Gauss pointed out that in Austria, the restriction for wearing masks in shops has already been lifted. Latvia, airBaltic’s home, also has no requirement to wear masks in shops, meanwhile, it is mandatory in Germany. Gauss mentioned,
“I would say that it depends on the level of COVID in the countries, and then the masks will go again. On a bus or public transport, some countries also require you to wear a mask also that will go over time.”
“It’s not negative to wear a mask”
However, while masks may not be around forever, they are a fact of traveling now. Gauss told Simple Flying that airBaltic’s approach is to say, “it’s not negative to wear a mask.” However, he understands that wearing a single mask in two airports and during a flight could be unpleasant.
airBaltic is handing each passenger a hygiene pack containing disinfection wipes and a single-use mask in a sealed envelope. Gauss additionally pointed out that airBaltic had opted to give out surgical masks as they are less cumbersome and restrictive on breathing.
It has been a challenge for airports and airlines to try to figure out how to implement mask-wearing. Lufthansa is telling all passengers to bring their own masks. Meanwhile, Stansted Airport is giving each passenger a mask and gloves on entry to the airport.
Some airlines have had a hard time policing mask usage onboard, especially in the United States. This, however, has not been an issue for the Baltic carrier. On the subject of customer satisfaction, Gauss told Simple Flying:
“We have not had any comments even from passengers apart from it being positive that we give them this package basic care kit with a mask and the disinfection wipes. Also, we have not had a single complaint from anybody about wearing masks.”
Do you think masks are here to stay? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!