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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)

  • Antony Ward says:

    Givernement expect to announce 80 countries where we won’t have to quarantine upon returning tomorrow.
    Not saying all these countries won’t require Brits to quarantine when arriving or even accept Brits but I’d hazard a guess a few countries will be on the Qatar route.

    I view this as a deterrent for leisure travel and hopefully operating for mostly business.

  • Freddy says:

    One way to upsell business class I guess. If you don’t want to wear a mask and a plastic shield over your face our business class seats are only £££££

  • Mike P says:

    Sounds like yet another jolly good reason to fly J rather than Y to me!

    • Frenske says:

      and miss the opportunity to gain a free face mask.

      • Rob says:

        You still get a free mask, you’re just not obliged to wear it!

      • Lady London says:

        J class ones will be fur-lined for winter and summer ones will be washable as made of linen with replaceable inserts. As the plane passes over the equator, so heading for the ‘opposite’ season, the other seasonal mask will be handed out.

        Economy passengers will continue to sweat and scratch with nasty synthetic ones.

        Your chance of contracting Covid will be directky related to your class on a plane… just like in life.

  • Lady London says:

    So Economy Class passengers are more unclean? or is this just to avoid responsibility for the fact that in contrast to the experience in J, in Y passengers are reallu uncomfortable in Y due to short seats on the new Airbus aircraft and Qatar packing them in what,? 10 across?

  • Lady London says:

    also not clear who is providing this face.shield- is it QR?

    • Rhys says:

      Yep, at check-in or on boarding.

      • Lady London says:

        I’m Ok with that. Face shields are hard to pack protectively when travelling. I had already looked out the visor I had with the idea of using it with a mask if I have to do any shorthaul flights anytime soon.

        But unless I upgrade the quality of my masks I just cannot see me surviving in one for more than 3 hours max. So no longhaul for me.

    • monsieurcurt says:

      The Qatar logo is in the corner so I’d expect so…

      • Lady London says:

        So we can ostentatiously make a point of using it with its logo on other airlines like the pyjamas?

  • AndyGWP says:

    Funnily enough, my friends flew home yesterday with Qatar (after 5 years living abroad and unsurprisingly numerous BA cancellations over the past few months)

    I have pictures of them (and their 6 month old) with the masks if you want me to see if you can use them?

  • Simon Schus says:

    Are there any decent recommendations on what face shields should be used, if one was to get some in advance? I don’t know the variance in options for face shields, nor where to get them from.

    • Rhys says:

      Qatar Airways will be providing them at check-in or at the boarding gate.

      • Andrew says:

        It’s a nice souvineer to take home. I like that it has the Oryx logo on the side.

      • Simon Schus says:

        Oh I’m just wondering more generally. My wife saw somebody with a face shield on a flight at the weekend so I was interested as to whether anybody here knew what makes a good face shield for flight.

        • Steve says:

          They’re available on amazon for around £5 for 5, more if you want prime delivery. All much of a muchness. I think I’ll wear one on my next flight.

  • DT says:

    Am I the only one that thinks it sounds reasonable. Having worn both for work, a face shield is far more comfortable than the mask, and offers some protection (although not as much as wearing a mask) for children, those with respiratory issues etc. who may wont be able to cope with wearing masks for long periods- people often tend pull the masks under their chins anyway, rendering them ineffective. As for not needing then in biz class, presumably due to increased space availability for social distancing, this is just another way in which this virus favours the rich over the poor…

    • Andrew says:

      Although arguably you’ve still got to be reasonably affluent to be flying long haul anyway. For people visiting food banks, they won’t be booking a QR flight to BKK. So it’s all relative and more like the rich and the really rich that this differential is making.

    • Rob says:

      You MUST wear both though. You don’t get a choice.

      • Andrew says:

        I wonder how much it will be enforced though. QR are usually pretty chilled about the seatbelt sign being on and still going to the toilet. It’s probably like you MUST self-quarantine on your return to the UK at the moment….

      • DT says:

        Good luck forcing kids to wear them on a 6 + hour flight!

    • Lady London says:

      you have to wear a mask as well, as a visor on its own is not that protective

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