In response to the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated aviation demand, the three global airline alliances have each launched initiatives to assure safety and health, and to rebuild confidence in air travel. The programs include providing passengers with information about the measures individual members airlines are taking, and developing specific protocols around cleanliness and social distancing.
The programs reflect many efforts across the travel industry to bring together safety and hygiene practices by individual travel providers and industry groups, combined with recommendations from governments and health authorities, including the International Air Transport Association and Airports Council International, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
The Oneworld alliance has created the oneworld-together information portal to provide customers the latest updates on the health and well-being measures implemented on the ground and inflight by Oneworld member airlines, as well as major airports in the Oneworld global network.
The alliance says the portal is a one-stop customer resource for information on the various measures introduced by member airlines including:
Enhanced and expanded cleaning of aircraft and customer touchpoints in airports and lounges.
Physical distancing during the boarding process, and the wearing of masks and face coverings.
These are in addition to measures such as the use of HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters on board aircraft.
The portal gives customers information on the health and wellbeing measures implemented by Oneworld’s 13 member airlines, as well as what’s been introduced at major airports in the Oneworld global network.
The 26 member airlines of the Star Alliance have announced a common set of health and hygiene safety measures, designed to restore public confidence in air travel.
The measures include
Providing passengers with hygiene kits;
Requiring or recommending passengers wear face masks throughout the flight, including during boarding and deplaning;
Making announcements or displaying signage on mandatory requirements to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus infections during a flight;
Adopting operating procedures for cases where a passenger develops or displays coronavirus symptoms during a flight;
Providing crews with personal protective equipment;
Cleaning or disinfecting aircraft at “relevant intervals.”
Star Alliance has also developed an information resource section on its website called Travel Information Hub to provide relevant health and hygiene measures adopted by its member airlines and airports in the Star Alliance network.
The information resource is intended to help customers prepare for their journey and to “fly with confidence,” according to the alliance.
The airline alliance says enhancements for a more personalized experience and information in multiple languages will be made available at some point in July.
On June 22, global airline alliance SkyTeam announced new hygiene protocols under the name SkyCare&Protect. All 19 of the alliance’s airline partners have signed on in support a series of personal safety measures to help protect passengers and airline employees when they travel on or between members.
SkyCare&Protect currently consists of 15 measures, based on five layers of protection.
Ready to fly – All airlines provide passengers the ability to check-in digitally for their flights. Certain members and airports are offering additional contactless services including self-baggage drop and boarding.
Clean – Member airlines have committed to increased cleaning of high-touch areas both at the airport and onboard, and aircraft are being intensively disinfected more frequently.
Protect – At hub airports, various measures have been implemented in line with local regulations to help facilitate social distancing, including floor markings, controlled queuing, and signage.
Hand sanitizer stations are available at the airports, and airport staff members will use face coverings and/or clear screens.
In flight all cabin crew and passengers are required to wear face coverings.
Screening – Some members may conduct passenger health checks, in line with local regulatory and governmental requirements, including health questionnaires during check-in, temperature checks and for some destinations a health certificate.
Information – SkyTeam member airlines will regularly update travel information on their websites to allow passengers to make educated decisions about their travel plans.