It might be a while before you step on an aeroplane – Japan still has not relaxed its entry restrictions – but you may want to start stocking up on face masks. Airlines in Japan have started implementing extra safety measures to avoid the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. Here are the latest updates to expect the next time you board an aircraft, from face mask requirements to new seating arrangements.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) will require all passengers to wear face masks in the airport and on the plane starting in June. Cabin crew will also wear face masks while ground staff will use face shields as additional protection. Face masks for passengers will be mandatory: if a passenger fails to wear one, they will not be allowed to board the aircraft.
The cabin crew for Japan Airlines (JAL) will wear face masks, but passengers are not required to do so. However, seating arrangements will temporarily include allocating empty seats to encourage social distancing.
Jetstar now requires all passengers to wear a face mask – from arrival at the check-in counter area until disembarking the aircraft.
Passengers flying AirAsia are now required to wear a face mask from check-in until claiming checked baggage upon arrival. The airline recommends bringing an extra mask for flights longer than four hours.
Skymark does not have a face mask requirement but will temporarily scatter seat arrangements to encourage social distancing.
The Japan Times reports that the International Air Transport Association prefers the mandatory mask policy to the empty seat approach, saying, ‘Mask-wearing by passengers and crew will reduce the already low risk, while avoiding the dramatic cost increases to air travel that onboard social distancing measures would bring.’