The return of domestic travel is on the horizon, with discussions about easing the restrictions enacted during the early stages of the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis well underway. Qantas and Jetstar have announced several initiatives to ensure a safe travel environment and to provide peace of mind as people prepare to start flying around Australia again.
The new Fly Well program implements measures already in use during repatriation flights - these measures, such as providing masks for all passengers, will now be introduced across all flights, while hand-sanitising stations will be available throughout terminals.
The measures will be rolled out from 12 June 2020.
Before your flight
Fly Well guidelines will be sent to all customers prior to their flight to ensure they’re aware of the measures.
Contactless check-in, using the Qantas app, self-serve check-in kiosks and bag drop stations (as well as the use of Q Bag Tags) are strongly encouraged.
Hand sanitiser will be available at departure gates, in addition to the introduction of other safeguards throughout airports such as regular disinfection at security checkpoints and more regular cleaning.
Qantas Lounges will also have hand sanitiser available and physical distancing measures in place. There will be some changes to food and drink service.
On board your flight
Boarding and disembarking will be sequenced to prevent crowding and passengers are asked to limit movement around the cabin.
Masks will be provided to all passengers once on the plane. While it won’t be mandatory to wear a mask, it is strongly encouraged.
Air-filtration systems on all Qantas and Jetstar aircraft are fitted with hospital-grade HEPA filters, which remove 99.9 per cent of all particles, and the air in the cabin is refreshed around every five minutes.
Cleaning processes, using a disinfectant effective against coronaviruses, will be enhanced with special attention paid to high-contact areas such as seats, seatbelts and toilets. Passengers will also be given sanitising wipes should they wish to wipe down their seats and trays.
Airline staff must follow strict personal hygiene protocols, and services onboard (such as meal delivery) will be simplified to minimise touchpoints between crew and passengers.
“The data shows that actual risk of catching coronavirus on an aircraft is already extremely low,” says Qantas Group Medical Director Dr Ian Hosegood.
“That’s due to a combination of factors, including the cabin air filtration system, the fact people don’t sit face-to-face and the high backs of aircraft seats acting as a physical barrier.”
“Social distancing on an aircraft isn’t practical the way it is on the ground, and given the low transmission risk on board, we don’t believe it’s necessary in order to be safe. The extra measures we’re putting place will reduce the risk even further.”
The measures will be reviewed in July, based on feedback from customers and updated medical advice.