Facemasks will be mandatory on all Aer Lingus flights

So many things we have enjoyed and even taken for granted will be impacted by the fallout from the covid-19 pandemic.

Eating out, going to the pub and international travel.

Now Aer Lingus have issued their guidance on how their flights will operate into the future outlining the measures it is introducing at airports and on-board its aircraft to protect the health of its customers and staff.

These measures apply to those travelling on the limited number of services currently operating, and they will apply to all Aer Lingus services once business and leisure flying resumes.

Right now the Irish government is advising against all non essential international travel.

Face coverings or masks are mandatory on all Aer Lingus flights for customers and cabin crew, with the exception of small children and those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons.

The face coverings can be in the form of a reusable cloth mask or a disposable mask and it is recommended that these are worn from the time passengers enter the departure airport to the time they leave their destination airport.

Aer Lingus says it is introducing significantly enhanced cleaning processes and procedures on all aircraft.

Hospital grade disinfectant will be used to treat all hard surfaces.

Tray tables, arm rests and windows will be deep cleaned by hand and the interior of every aircraft will be thoroughly disinfected daily.

All Aer Lingus Airbus aircraft are fitted with state-of-the-art air filtration technology as standard.

These are the same air filters that are used in hospital operating theatres. 99.97% of airborne particles such as viruses and bacteria are removed by this air filtering technology and cabin air is fully replaced every three minutes.

Aer Lingus is also introducing new boarding and disembarkation procedures.

Passengers will board and disembark the aircraft in small groups and according to seat row numbers.

At the boarding gate, customers will scan their own boarding card and show their passport or ID to the Aer Lingus staff, making this process contactless.

Airports are implementing new procedures to support physical distancing and reduce contact.

Passengers will see the use of protective screens, hand sanitisation stations and airport staff that have close contact with passengers wearing face masks.

Passengers will be reminded of the importance of good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and limiting contact with surfaces as they move through airports.

Aer Lingus will be asking customers to make sure they are fit to fly, and requesting that intending passengers who are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should not travel to the airport.

Aer Lingus will be encouraging everyone to check in on-line, to check in their luggage and use self-service kiosks where available to minimise contact.

Inflight services including food and drink have been suspended on short haul services, while a reduced service is available on long haul, with contactless payment for any purchases.

There will also be reduced passenger movement in the cabin.

Speaking about the new measures, Peter O’Neill, Chief Operations Officer, Aer Lingus, said:

“The safety and well-being of our customers and staff has always been our central priority. In recent weeks, teams across Aer Lingus have been working tirelessly to develop new processes and procedures informed by international guidance.

‘Our operations teams are introducing these new measures, from implementing additional cleaning and disinfecting, to adopting new procedures at check in, boarding and on board each flight.

‘Coupled with the adoption of new procedures by airports and the mandatory use of face coverings on board our aircraft, it is clear that flying is going to be different for the next while. We want to reassure our customers that when the time comes and we are travelling once again, Aer Lingus will be ready to take you to your chosen destination, as safely as possible.”

You’d wonder when all flights will near full capacity again all the same.