ENTERTAINMENT

The future of flight: blueprint to make flying safe for the Covid era


Passengers face the biggest travel changes since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Everyone on board airplanes must wear face masks, do not have to queue for toilets and only have limited duty-free sales at airports.

Masks, health checks, and movement restrictions on board were part of the industry guidelines that require aircraft to be disinfected regularly and food to be prepackaged on board.

The blueprint of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization suggests that people in countries where they have been issued have "health certificates" with them and do temperature tests before and after the flight.

Online check-in and other non-contact technologies such as e-tickets must be used in terminals as much as possible to reduce human contact, while travelers should only take a small piece of hand luggage with them.

Airlines should prohibit newspapers and magazines on board, while duty-free airport sales should be limited, and masks and facewear should be mandatory for passengers and crew on airplanes and terminals.

The physical distance of at least 1 m should be maintained – and passengers on planes should move as little as possible and not stand outside the toilets. Travelers also receive a special toilet on board.

The plans, which are intended as a “framework” for the safety of passengers and workers, also include advice for flight attendants to obtain personal protective equipment, including visors, gloves and medical masks.

Canada-based ICAO guidelines, however, do not advise that you keep every other seat free to maintain physical distance – something the aviation industry has warned about would jeopardize profitability.

Here MailOnline deals with the new guidelines and their importance for passengers and the aviation industry:

CHECK IN

Access to the terminal for workers with disabilities, limited mobility, or unaccompanied children may be restricted to workers, travelers, and escorts – provided there are no crowds and queues.

Passengers are encouraged to complete the check-in process before arriving at the airport as much as possible using online check-in, mobile boarding passes, baggage tags outside the airport, and other initiatives.

Authorities are particularly concerned about self-service options such as boarding pass and baggage tag kiosks and baggage drop-off, as high physical contact increases the likelihood of contamination.

Airports are therefore asked to constantly disinfect these areas. They will also provide signs, floor markings, and announcements about PA systems to promote physical distance.

Retractable stanchions and floor signs are attached to the traditional check-in counters in the queue area in order to promote social distance and possibly transparent barriers in front of the employees at the counters.

Contactless processes such as face recognition are also promoted in self-service bags, various queue entrances, gate and retail and duty-free outlets, which reduces the need for contact between people.

Social distancing is imposed with the aim of reaching at least 1 m between people, asking passengers to wear face masks or covers as long as this does not result in a shortage for healthcare workers.

Depending on their role, employees receive personal protective equipment. These include gloves, medical masks, safety glasses, face protection, clothes or aprons. There will also be a rota that keeps them in solid teams and shifts.

Travelers are now waiting to check in at Fiumicino Airport in Rome as airports and borders reopen to tourists across Italy

GO THROUGH SECURITY

When the terminal's regulations require a health check, non-contact thermometers are used in a designated area and procedures are set up to respond to passengers who show signs of illness.

Hand disinfectants and disinfectant products are available to passengers and employees before they reach the access points. When they are there, they should maintain social distance and wear adequate PPE.

Airports are considering reorganizing security checkpoint access and layouts to reduce queues and congestion. There are markings on the floor indicating the appropriate distance recommended by the country's authorities.

Passengers should present boarding passes and other travel documents to security personnel, avoiding physical contact and minimizing personal interaction.

Travelers can use automatic boarding pass scanners at access points, and mobile boarding pass scanners are operated by security personnel. Screening personnel should wear gloves and change them after each manual search.

Larger quantities of health-related liquids, aerosols and gels are also provided than required by the applicable regulations, e.g. B. Hand disinfectant, if the competent authority for aviation security allows it.

Passengers with face masks are waiting today at the check-in counter at Fiumicino Airport in Rome for a flight to Düsseldorf in Germany

Passengers with face masks are waiting today at the check-in counter at Fiumicino Airport in Rome for a flight to Düsseldorf in Germany

DEPARTURE Lounge and catering

Airports are considering floor markings and physical installations to create social distance in departure areas and VIP lounges and to give passengers access to retail stores, duty-free concessions, restaurants and drinks.

Certain areas may need to be closed or their layout changed, e.g. B. Self-service buffet, seating in the café, smoking areas and children's play areas. Hand disinfection stations are available in the lounges.

Airports should also install non-contact devices in toilet facilities, such as B. an automatic toilet flushing system, taps and soap or hand disinfection dispensers as well as automated towel dispensers.

To ensure social distance during the boarding process, airports may need to redesign gate areas and increasingly use automation such as self-scanning and biometrics – especially with increasing passenger numbers.

Passengers can take hand luggage only to a limited extent, which would require the use of the luggage compartments, while the seating areas can only be opened with limited capacity to meet the need for social distance.

Airlines are also asked to consider changing their boarding process to improve social distance and reduce the likelihood of passengers queuing up to board the plane.

Passengers today sit in socially distant seats in the departure terminal of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand

Passengers today sit in socially distant seats in the departure terminal of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand

ON BOARD

The airlines were asked to allocate seats for a reasonable distance between passengers – and to allow separate seating arrangements if the occupancy permits.

However, the guidelines have not recommended leaving every other seat free to maintain physical distance – something the aviation industry warned about would jeopardize profitability.

Passengers are encouraged to travel as lightly as possible when checking in all luggage except for the small hand luggage that fits under the seat. You will also be asked to stay in their assigned space as much as possible.

Newspapers and magazines on board are removed, while the size and amount of duty free sales may be temporarily limited. Food and beverages will likely only be provided in sealed and prepacked containers.

A toilet should only be intended for use by the crew, provided that enough others are available for use by the passengers, without passengers gathering waiting to use one.

Passengers must also use a specific toilet based on their seat allocation to limit passenger movement in flight, which reduces exposure to other passengers.

The crew are not allowed to pass on any safety equipment used for demonstrations, while the airlines also want to install plastic curtains or cladding during boarding, which will be removed after the process is complete.

Passengers board an aircraft in Thailand after a domestic flight by Thai Smile Airways at today's Chiang Mai airport

Passengers board an aircraft in Thailand after a domestic flight by Thai Smile Airways at today's Chiang Mai airport

SECURITY AFTER LANDING

Airports have been warned of border controls and arrival customs procedures may need to be revised to increase social distance, with a focus on automated equipment, digital passenger identification, and thermal control.

Some governments are also considering the idea of ​​a health declaration to be made by arriving passengers before departure or on arrival as a first screening measure that can then be checked by officials.

Governments are also encouraged to consider electronic declaration options to minimize human-to-human contact, and self-declaration on customs on the green or red streets is recommended.

Intelligent thermal imaging cameras could be installed to quickly capture the temperature of multiple passengers. This could be done in front of the customs hall, but individual health assessments should be avoided to reduce queuing.

For those who transfer flights, the authorities could develop a one-stop health screening that does not recheck passengers and property at transfer locations because security measures are mutually recognized.

Passengers arrive at the Italian airport of Cagliari-Elmas today after the reopening of the regional borders from various destinations

Passengers arrive at the Italian airport of Cagliari-Elmas today after the reopening of the regional borders from various destinations

LUGGAGE CLAIM

Airports are also encouraged to quickly check-in baggage to ensure that there are no crowds in the area and to make maximum use of the available carousels to limit the number of passengers.

Governments should ensure that the customs clearance process is as quick as possible and align the cleaning schedule with flight schedules to ensure more frequent and thorough disinfection of the areas.

Airports should also provide a self-service kiosk or online options for passengers who need to report lost or damaged luggage, while using retractable stanchions and floor markings to promote social detachment.

If possible, airline agents at lost baggage desks are given a transparent protective separator, while airports encourage the use of baggage delivery services so baggage items can be sent directly to a hotel or home.

Passengers with protective face masks stand with their luggage at Rome Fiumicino Airport in Italy this morning

Passengers with protective face masks stand with their luggage at Rome Fiumicino Airport in Italy this morning

TERMINAL CLEANING

The airports were asked to ensure that "terminal cleaning and disinfection operations" are set up for terminal buildings, the frequency of which increases as the number of passengers increases and the restrictions are relaxed.

Areas that are cleaned regularly are touched frequently and are most likely to be contaminated, e.g. B. Airport information counters and areas for passengers with reduced mobility.

Other areas with improved cleaning include check-in areas, immigration and customs counters, security control areas, escalators and elevators, handrails and toilets, and baby changing rooms.

Baggage carts and collection points are cleaned with disposable wet wipes or disinfectants, while disposal containers are provided. Seating areas and park shuttle buses are also cleaned regularly.

Airports will increasingly use air conditioning and filter systems to keep the air in terminal buildings clean, reduce circulation and increase the fresh air ratio while limiting horizontal air flows.

A cleaner is pushing a cart over a terminal at Fiumicino Airport in Rome today while the airports in Italy are reopening for tourists

A cleaner is pushing a cart over a terminal at Fiumicino Airport in Rome today while the airports in Italy are reopening for tourists

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