Several airlines have told their cabin crew that they must wear surgical face masks amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, while countless others have left it up to the discretion of staff whether to wear a mask or not. But Italian flag carrier Alitalia is taking it to the next level, demanding passengers also wear a face mask onboard their flights.
It’s fair to say that Alitalia isn’t operating a lot of flights at the moment – what with country after country imposing travel bans on anyone who has been in Italy within the last 14-days and the country itself in a state of lockdown which has grounded hundreds of flights.
But on the few flights that Alitalia is operating, it wants to make it clear that passengers will be expected to wear a face mask. Although, you’ll have to bring your own because Alitalia won’t actually supply the mask – and anyone failing to comply won’t be allowed to travel.
If however, the flight isn’t full and all passengers have at least a 1-metre distance between each other (which is probably quite likely at the moment) then Alitalia may allow passengers to board without a face mask.
The precautions have been implemented with immediate effect and there’s no knowing when the requirement to wear a mask might be eased. It’s part of a raft of measures the airline is introducing to stem the tide of Coronavirus cases, including extra cabin cleaning and limiting access to its airport lounges so that passengers can maintain distance between one another.
Italy has seen the second-highest number of COVID-19 Coronavirus cases outside of mainland China with over 21,000 people infected as of March 14. Sadly, at least 1,441 people have died because of the Coronavirus. The country has been placed on lockdown since Tuesday in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus and air travel has been seriously curtailed.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.