Hawaiian Airlines is making masks a requirement for passengers traveling from May 8th. Also, the airline is altering its boarding process to space people out, avoid crowding, and to give passengers more space onboard its aircraft.
From May 8th, all passengers traveling on Hawaiian Airlines will need to cover their nose and mouth. This requirement is in effect from check-in through deplaning at their destination. Young children and those with disabilities that would make wearing a mask difficult or dangerous are exempted.
With this requirement, Hawaiian is joining a long list of airlines that are requiring passengers to wear masks next month as travel starts to pick up. Already, airport employees and flight attendants are wearing face masks.
And, passengers will receive sanitizing wipes to wipe down their hands or areas around their seats.
Social distancing onboard
Onboard aircraft, the airline will start blocking middle seats on larger jets. On ATR turboprops, adjoining seats are blocked. It is unclear, however, how Hawaiian Airlines will conduct this onboard Airbus A330 aircraft.
There are some caveats to this process. If weight and balance is an issue, gate agents may have to adjust seating. If you find yourself onboard a flight where there is a better seat for you to practice social distancing, reach out to a flight attendant first to ask about switching seats.
Families and people traveling together can reach out to gate agents to request to sit together.
Social distancing on the ground
To give passengers more room on the ground, the airline will start boarding the Main Cabin from the back of the aircraft to the front. Groups will be limited to three to five rows depending on the number of people in each row. The goal is to minimize congestion and give people space on the ground. First class passengers and those needing special assistance can pre-board.
Like other airlines, Hawaiian has boosted its cleaning procedures. On the ground, check-in kiosks are being disinfected.
In the cabin, when the aircraft is unoccupied, Hawaiian is spraying the cabin with disinfectants. The 717s flying intra-island flights are being sprayed every night. The A330s flying to the mainland are being sprayed before departure from Hawaii. The A321neos are currently grounded, and some are undergoing cabin modifications.
Beyond the fogging, the seatbacks, seatbelts, inflight entertainment monitors, tray tables, and galley and lavatory surfaces are being wiped down.
When will this end?
Hawaiian has set no firm end date for when these procedures will be suspended. Enhanced cleaning, mask requirements, and reduced inflight services will likely remain for the next few months (if not longer) until guidance from health agencies indicates otherwise.
The social distancing, however, may end sooner. Blocking seats means lowering capacity, which can impact an airline’s bottom line. As a result, Hawaiian may end this policy as travel demand increases.
What do you make of Hawaiian’s latest moves? Let us know in the comments!