Aer Lingus has revealed an assortment of new measures that it is introducing at airports and on-board its aircraft to help protect the health of its customers and staff.
The new measures apply to those travelling on the limited number of Aer Lingus services that are currently operating, and will also apply to all of the airline's services when business and leisure flying resumes.
As announced by the airline in May, face coverings or masks are mandatory on all of Aer Lingus's 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. Face coverings can be in the form of a reusable cloth mask or a disposable mask, and Aer Lingus recommends that these are worn from the time that passengers enter the departure airport to the time that they leave their destination airport.
Enhanced Cleaning Processes
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Aer Lingus said that it is introducing significantly enhanced cleaning processes and procedures on all of its aircraft. Hospital grade disinfectant will be used to treat all hard surfaces. Tray tables, armrests and windows will be deep cleaned by hand, and the interior of every aircraft will be thoroughly disinfected daily.
State-Of-The-Art Air Filters
According to Aer Lingus, all Aer Lingus Airbus aircraft are fitted with state-of-the-art air filters, which are the same air filters that are used in hospital operating theatres. The airline stated that 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.
New Boarding And Disembarkation Procedures
Aer Lingus is also introducing new boarding and disembarkation procedures. Passengers will board and disembark Aer Lingus 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 Aer Lingus staff, making this process contactless.
New Airport Physical Distancing Procedures
Aer Lingus noted that airports are implementing new procedures to support physical distancing and reduce contact, and, consequently, 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.
Asking Customers To Ensure They Are Fit To Fly
Aer Lingus said that it will be asking customers to make sure that they are fit to fly, and will be requesting that intending passengers who are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms do not travel to the airport.
Online Check-In And Suspension Of In-Flight Services
The airline will be encouraging everyone to check in online, to check their luggage in and to use self-service kiosks where available to minimise contact. In-flight services including food and drink have been suspended on short haul services. A reduced service is available on long haul services, with contactless payment being used for any purchases. There will also be reduced passenger movement in aircraft cabins.
In a statement published on the airline's website, Aer Lingus chief operations officer Peter O'Neill 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."
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