Today, KLM has announced that wearing face masks will be compulsory on its flights as they begin to restart. Effective 11th May, the rule applies to all KLM flights. Passengers must wear masks when boarding flights and while onboard.
Resumption of flights
Following other airlines who will gradually resume flights in May, KLM is starting a careful restoration of its European network. Face masks are going to be compulsory on board. Masks will not be provided as the airline says, “passengers are responsible for providing their own masks.”
Earlier in the year, KLM’s commercial flights were suspended to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus. Now, the airline will resume daily service to some destinations in its European network.
Depending on measures being taken by the authorities, routes will gradually be reopened to other destinations but may change weekly. KLM wants to resume 15% of its commercial flights during May. A large number of intercontinental flights are operating on a cargo-only basis.
From today, KLM will fly from Amsterdam to the following destinations using its Embraer aircraft:
- Milan (Malpensa)
Mandatory face mask
In situations where social distancing cannot be respected or guaranteed, face masks are increasingly being seen as a tool to facilitate safety. A number of other European airlines, and even some airports, have made it mandatory to sport a mask, in a bit to prevent the spread of the virus.
While it’s likely to be some time before international flying returns to anything like the pre-coronavirus levels, we are starting to see some plans being laid. As well as asking passengers to protect themselves and each other, airlines are increasingly using PPE for their crews too, to ensure flight attendants can travel with confidence.
However, not all airlines are making face masks mandatory for passengers. There are currently no requirements to wear face masks on Australian airlines, for example. The Australian Government has not taken any decisions on measures that will be put in place for travel once restrictions are lifted.
Although it’s going to be quite some time before global travel is truly restored, airlines are already looking to the future. Each one understands it must play its part in protecting its passengers and giving them confidence that travel will be safe. As much as air travel served to spread the virus around the world, now it needs to do what it can to minimize any further spread.
As well as looking to PPE to protect passengers and crew, airlines and airports are stepping up their cleaning and disinfection procedures to make flying safe again. Many have pulled inflight duty free and meal services, and ‘dirty’ in flight magazines are being removed from seatback pockets.
While some of these measures may begin to vanish, others could stay long term, changing the way we travel for good.
What do you think about KLM’s decision to make face masks mandatory? Will it help to stop the spread of the coronavirus better while flights are resuming? Let us know what you think in the comments below.