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Qatar Airways insists economy passengers wear a face shield AND a mask

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Qatar Airways is flying to more places than any other long-haul airline at the moment.  In July, it will be operating:

  • London Heathrow: 3 flights per day, all A350 with Qsuite
  • Edinburgh: 3 flights per week
  • Manchester: 11 flights per week 
  • Dublin: 1 flight per day, all A350 with Qsuite

That’s 42 flights per week from the UK and Ireland.

The airline has shown a very strong commitment to passenger safety throughout coronavirus.  I wasn’t convinced that the PPE required to be worn by cabin crew was necessary:

Qatar Airways cabin crew PPE

….. although apparently customer feedback was positive.  This was on the basis that anyone travelling long-haul in recent weeks wasn’t travelling for fun, and accepted those measures as necessary.  This is now being replaced by a protective gown, however, which looks a bit more approachable:

Qatar Airways new cabin crew gown

Long haul leisure travel is opening up, however slowly.  This is why I am less convinced by the latest move – COMPULSORY face shields for all economy passengers.  This is on top of a face mask.

Here are the shields that Qatar Airways provides, adult and child:

Qatar Airways face shield

I don’t have a picture of a face shield in action, unfortunately.

For clarity, these are only compulsory in Economy, and must be worn with a face mask as well.  Business Class passengers will be given the choice of whether to wear one or not. They will be supplied at check-in or during boarding.

Passengers will be provided with a complimentary protective kit. Inside a ziplock pouch, they will find a single-use surgical face mask, disposable powder-free gloves and hand sanitiser gel.

Perhaps I’m out of touch with the public mood here and people want to wear masks and face shield in Economy for security.  Let’s see.

Comments (127)

  • Dominic says:

    As much as public safety is important, I am not wearing a face shield for a long haul flight…

  • Matt says:

    Er. No.

  • Ravindra says:

    I don’t think you are “out of touch” – but unfortunately “normal” people are not heard anymore… For my part, it is definitely a no go and I’ve even cancelled all non-essential travel since wearing a mask is even above the limit for me. Being based at a secondary airport with limited direct flights, even a simple flight within Europe is at least a 6-hour flight without a possibility to take a mask off during that time. It’s a no-go – even not talking about a long-haul flight.
    So my status match to Qatar Airways might turn out of not being so much of good use to me…

  • ChrisD says:

    Dirty, cheap economy passengers! Presumably they’ll be hosed down when they get to Doha too? 😲

    • Lady London says:

      fumigated actually. cleaning crew in in full hazmat suits comes on when you land, wearing those weedkiller type canisters on their backs. Everyone is told fo stay in their seats while the whole aircraft is fumigated – clouds of smoke everywhere. Then about 10 mins later people are allowed to disembark.

      Happened to me on my first ever longhaul flight. We stopped at Bombay and Singapore and Bahrain – I think the fumigation was Bombay.

      • DB2020 says:

        LOL Lady London, they still fumigate flights to and from Bombay and ask passengers who are sensitive to the chemical and / or wearing contact lenses to close or cover their eyes and faces. The Indian authorities claim it is a WHO mandated requirement.

        • Rhys says:

          Not quite as severe but on some flights cabin crew walk down the aisles with two spray cans of something. I’m never sure if the little they spray will actually make a difference….

          • Nick_C says:

            I think those are insecticides

          • RussellH says:

            That has happened in the Caribbean

          • Lady London says:

            That stuff’s dangerous. I go into the emergency position and breathe through my handkerchief

            I think the next time I go to Australasia it will be by sea. Oh, wait…!

  • jamie says:

    Sounds a bit discriminatory if you don’t have to wear them in other classes

    • Rhys says:

      Social distancing is slightly more tenable in business class…

  • Jeff 99 says:

    Which leisure passengers are going to be travelling with Qatar from the U.K. anyway? We’re not allowed in most countries outside of Europe anyway.

    Loads will be “outraged” by something that’s not going to impact them though, of course.

  • marcw says:

    As long as borders remain closed… it’s irrelevant unless you have to fly. I guess it’s just a press release exercise to get some “free” publicity for Qatar Airways, as I am sure the general press will pick up this story as well.

    Don’t think this policy will stick for more than 1 week.

    • Lady London says:

      Nope. They mean it. They be are a Middle East airline.

  • AJA says:

    “I don’t have a picture of a face shield in action, unfortunately.”

    Watch a couple of episodes of Dr Pimple Popper. She often wears one to protect herself from the splashback.

    I am really glad I don’t do economy class. I don’t relish the idea of wearing a face mask let alone a face shield and am not really that keen on getting onboard any plane but would do so if I could have a bit of a normal holiday the other end. That said my OH doesn’t want to step on a plane until there is a tested vaccine.

    • Lady London says:

      I dont think there will be a vaccine as we know it today. This virus does something different that our current vaccine and cure methods haven’t caught up with. Coronaviruses have been around for quite a while now in cat families and we haven’t found a way to beat it yet.

      I think we’ll have to take a pill each day when travelling in areas where it’s endemic. Funnily enough that’s the current method with chloroquine / chlorhexidine? for malaria.

      • Rhys says:

        Isn’t SARS a coronavirus and wasn’t a vaccine found for that?

        • Steve says:

          Yes SARS is a Coronavirus and No a vaccine was never developed for SARS

        • Marcw says:

          SARS, MERS, felines coronavirus… All coronavirus family. No vaccine or effective treatment had been found, after decades of research.

          • Rhys says:

            My mistake. Isn’t the common cold/flu also coronavirus?

          • memesweeper says:

            Yes there are many coronaviruses with no vaccine. However, never has so much effort gone into making a vaccine as is being poured into sars-cov-2. I think they’ll come up with something, but like a flu jab, it might be only partly effective and it might require an annual top up.

          • marcw says:

            Rhys, flu is influenza virus. Some colds are rhinovirus.

            And agree, never has there been so much effort put in finding vaccines or treatments against coronavirus. But usually research groups are very focused / specialised in a topic. So effectively, the worldwide research groups that research coronaviruses hasn’t grown. I have no high hopes we will ever find an effective vaccine or treatment. Containment is the only way in current conditions.

          • Tim says:

            The reality would seem to be that Carona virus hasn’t had a lot of research focus because previous versions sars and mers didn’t kill that many people in the grand scheme of things and regular colds have been circulating forever and don’t generally have severe symptoms.

        • Lady London says:

          I think researchers are missing the blindingly obvious. We need to study how the virus works and what it needs to survive and disrupt that. We have to stop it selecting a subject – not try to create antibodies that will try to fight it once it’s picked its subject.

          If we can solve this one I think it will open up a whole new field and give us a new way, not just a vaccine, to deal with disease-causing organisms. I feel strongly looking at vaccines/antibodies we are looking in the wrong place.

          I’m sure there are HfP readers who are actually experts in these fields who are having a right laugh at this thought though 🙂

          • Euan says:

            You may not be the best person to give advice if you’re recommending chlorhexidine as an antimalarial 🙄 Perhaps leave this one to the scientists who actually know what they’re talking about…….

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