Coronavirus Leads China Airlines To Suspend Inflight Service

In an attempt to combat the spread of coronavirus, China Airlines and its affiliates, Tigerair Taiwan and Mandarin Airlines will no longer offer inflight services on flights to Hong Kong and Macau.

The decision to suspend food and beverage services along with the distribution of blankets, cushions, and newspapers to the former British and Portuguese colonies follows the cancelation of flights to the Chinese mainland.

China-Airlines
China Airlines tells passengers to bring a Thermos. Photo: China Airlines

The new measures are designed to try and limit the risk of passengers and crew becoming infected by the deadly virus by eliminating unnecessary contact.

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China Airlines has told passengers to bring a Thermos

Instead of hot meals, passengers will now be given disposable paper lunch boxes or food inside paper bags, with only people opting for special ordered vegetarian meals not being affected. China Airlines is also encouraging passengers to bring their own Thermos flasks on board if they want to have a hot drink. The airline also said that, between flights, all fold-down trays, armrests, and overhead bins would be disinfected.

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Taiwan News carried the announcement from Taiwan’s largest airline saying that the only flights without an inflight service would be those to Hong Kong and Macao.

Coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate

As of yesterday, the total number of known people infected with coronavirus (2019-nCoV) rose to 4,515, almost double the number of cases from a day earlier. The spread of the virus and the fact that there is no known cure now has the Center for Disease Control in the United States issuing a level three warning advising people not to travel to China.

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Despite the epicenter of the outbreak being under quarantine and the now mandatory wearing of face masks in many cities, the Chinese authorities are facing an uphill battle to stop the virus from spreading. On Monday health officials announced that a 50-year-old man in Beijing had died from the disease and was the first known fatality in the county’s capital.

Wuhan Coronavirus
Passengers are being screened for the Wuhan Coronavirus at terminals in China. Photo: Getty

The outbreak of the disease is thought to have occurred at an animal market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million inhabitants, and is now able to spread between humans. A scary side to this new virus other than there is no vaccine to protect people from contracting it, is the fact that it takes several days before infected people show any symptoms. This means that someone infected with the disease can travel and infect other people without knowing they have coronavirus.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the incubation period can be anywhere from one to 14 days. Several nations, including Japan, are working with the Chinese government to organize special charter flights for their citizens trapped in Wuhan.

As the world prepares to evacuate its citizens, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam confirmed that the high-speed rail line between Hong Kong and Mainland China would be closed from Thursday and that travel by flights, buses, and ferries will be restricted to stop s coronavirus spreading to the territory.

While all this sounds incredibly alarming, most people infected with the virus will make a full recovery just like they would from the normal flu. According to Chinese media, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said that children could get coronavirus but the symptoms would be mild. Those most at risk are the elderly or people with pre-excising respiratory ailments.

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Hong Kong is suspending high-speed train travel to China because of coronavirus. Photo: N509FZ  via Wikimedia Commons

To sum up, China Airlines’ decision to stop serving passengers on flights seems pointless as everyone will still be breathing the same air. If China Airlines is concerned about stopping coronavirus from spreading, why not just suspend all flights to Hong Kong and Macau? What do you think about what China Airlines is doing? Please let us know in the comments.

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Maria Cirazon R. Venus

i have a Flight on feb.8 with China Airlines from Manila to Los Angeles California USA with a few hours stopover Teipei Airport. China Airlines shoud inform passengers if flights are cancelled and need to be rebooked or transfer Airline because of the Corona Virus epedemic.

Maria Corazon R. Venus

i have a Flight on feb.8 with China Airlines from Manila to Los Angeles California USA with a few hours stopover Teipei Airport. China Airlines shoud inform passengers if flights are cancelled and need to be rebooked or transfer Airline because of the Corona Virus epedemic.

Jason C

“To sum up, China Airlines’ decision to stop serving passengers on flights seems pointless as everyone will still be breathing the same air.”

True that everyone is breathing the same air on the under 2 hour flight. I don’t think it’s pointless because it reduces the chance of the virus being spread to the catering kitchen. China Airlines serves meals on the short flight on reusable trays, dishes, and silverware.

In addition, serving every single passenger beverages mean increase interaction between passengers and the flight attendant and further increase the chance of spreading the virus by touching. Especially at the end of service when they come through to collect the cups and trays. Although most likely the flight attendant will be protected with gloves, most passengers would not be wearing gloves and imagine what happens if someone coughs or sneezes on their cup, hand it to the flight attendant, and he/she continues collecting items from other passengers and accidentally touches or bump into another passenger and infect them.

Finally, to address the comments to this article. China Airline is a Taiwanese airline.. based in Taiwan. Taiwan is NOT part of mainland China and is the reason why they are allow to continue flying to the United States like Philippines Airlines, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, and other Asian carriers that isn’t based in Mainland China. Citizens with Taiwanese passports are still allow to enter the United States as long as they didn’t visit mainland China within the last 14 days. Just like everyone else from counties all around Asia that isn’t China.

China Airline’s name is mostly political as Taiwan is technically Republic of China (ROC) while Mainland China is People’s Republic of China (PRC). They are two separate governments in a dispute and thats a whole other story… but what is important here is that Taiwan is pretty much separate from Mainland China with their own government, own currency, and have virtually no influence from the Mainland China / PRC government. It’s a huge debate if Taiwan is part of China or not but as far as the Corona Virus goes, I feel they are two different counties.