While multiple airlines have temporarily suspended all flights to China due to the coronavirus outbreak, those that are still flying to the country are adopting a series of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific announced it will no longer offer hot towels, pillows, blankets and magazines to passengers on Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Cathay Dragon flights to and from mainland China.
Trolley services and in-flight sales will also be suspended.
Passengers traveling in premium economy and economy classes will receive hot hand-held snacks served in a disposable bag as opposed to the usual hot tray meals.
Instead of getting each dish served individually, passengers in business and first class will receive multi-course meals served in one tray.
“These changes will enable us to provide enhanced protection for our customers and crew while at the same time continuing to deliver a satisfactory inflight experience for passengers,” says the official statement from Cathay Pacific.
According to CNN, other airlines are taking similar measures to reduce the contact between their crew members and travelers.
Hong Kong Airlines has also stopped offering blankets and pillows for all classes on flights to and from mainland China.
Passengers won’t be offered mixed nuts, bread or hot drinks on the flights either. Inflight entertainment will be limited to the newspapers and reading materials inside the seat pocket.
Thailand has reported 14 cases of the disease — the highest number outside of China.
Thai Airways — together with subsidiary THAI Smile — said in a media briefing on Tuesday that its cabin crew will wear masks and gloves on flights when flying to high-risk areas.
All aircraft, including the cockpit, will undergo a 45-minute disinfection period after returning from mainland China. Some parts of the planes, including the passenger seats, pockets and inflight entertainment systems, will go through a deep cleaning.
Other measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus include screening passengers for symptoms both on the ground and during flights.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in the country, has also notified passengers on its website that staff on flights to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai will be wearing masks.
“In light of the large numbers of people wearing them, cabin attendants working on the flights have been wearing masks on board to reassure passengers who are using our services,” says the notice.