BA NEWS • July 2020
Over the past few months, British Airways has been working hard to ensure new protective measures are put in place for a safe return to the skies. As the airline prepares itself to welcome you back on board, travel journalist Jenny Southan reports on what to expect from your next flight experience
Before you fly
Face masks will be essential for your journey – both in the airport and throughout the flight. In just a few short months, these have become not only an essential commodity but a fashion – and even political – statement. Make your own or buy one – from homemade cloth masks from Etsy to high-tech designer ones from Airinum.
With ‘germaphobia’ a defining trend for 2020 and beyond, the travel industry is implementing extreme new hygiene measures using state-of-the-art technology, from robots that emit virus-killing UV light to electrostatic spray guns. To ensure health and safety for passengers and crew, British Airways will be thoroughly disinfecting aircraft cabins after every flight.
You can also minimise contact at the airport by using the British Airways app to download up to eight boarding passes on one device.
Watch the video below: Preparing for travel
At the airport
Flying in the age of Covid-19 also means that the airport experience will be different.
When passengers enter the terminal, new signposting will help to maintain social distancing, although keeping travellers two metres apart might not be possible at gates.
For those without a supply of alcohol gel, there will be new hand-sanitising stations dotted around public areas, as well as transparent protective screens in front of check-in desks.
When it comes to boarding, there is a trial in place in which travellers will enter the plane from the rear, in order of row number. This means that those seated at the front of the plane will board first to avoid walking past other passengers who are already seated. For those travelling in First class, they will board first, from the front row to the back row of the cabin.
Watch the video below: At the airport
On the plane
Inside the aircraft, crew will wear masks and gloves to keep you safe as they welcome you back onboard. It’s also reassuring to know that, contrary to popular belief, the air quality will be as clean as hospital operating theatres thanks to HEPA filters, which remove 99.9 per cent of microscopic bacteria and virus clusters. Cabin air will be completely replaced every 2 to 3 minutes inflight through these filters.
Although there has been discussion about attempting to enforce social distancing on planes by blocking out the middle seats, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) doesn’t believe this is an effective measure because it only creates a 50cm-wide gap between people.
With this in mind, it will be important for passengers to keep their masks on, although they will be able to take them off to eat and drink. Catering will be simplified, with pre-prepared meal boxes and beverages (including alcohol) served on long-haul flights and in Club Europe’s short-haul Business Class. A complimentary snack and water will be served in Euro Traveller (Economy).
Individual personal protection packs (including hand sanitiser gel, antibacterial wipes and a biohazard bag for the safe disposal of masks and tissues) will be handed out to every passenger. If you need to use the washroom, wait until the ‘green light’ appears before you stand up so as to avoid queueing.
Watch the video below: What to expect on board
For more updates on how British Airways is getting ready to welcome you back on board, visit ba.com/welcomeonboard