Aeroflot: passengers must change face masks every three hours inflight

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Russian carrier Aeroflot has published new guidelines for travel on its flights in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline says that passengers and crew must wear face masks for the duration of their flight (crew will also be required to wear gloves), and passengers must replace these with fresh masks every three hours. It’s not clear how this will be enforced inflight, but Aeroflot said that masks will be provided by crew if needed.

In addition the airline said that passengers will have their temperature checked as part of the boarding process, and those with a temperature of over 37 degrees Celsius will not be allowed to fly. Again it is not clear how strictly this will be enforced – the NHS website states that a high temperature “is usually considered to be 38C or above”.

Prior to boarding passengers will be offered hand sanitiser, and during flights all “outerwear” must be stored in overhead bins. The carrier said that “It is prohibited to take out outerwear during the flight without notifying cabin crew and unless there is a justified reason to do so”.

Seatbelts must be kept fastened at all times inflight, and passengers will only be allowed to leave their seats in order to use the lavatories (which will be regularly disinfected during flights).

Changes have also been made to the inflight meal service, with food being offered either in individually wrapped packages, or following heating inflight. Passengers will only be allowed to bring their own food and drink onboard if it is in unopened / sealed packaging.

Aeroflot said that the temporary measures “are in line with sanitary and epidemiologic regulations issued in a resolution of Russia’s Chief Sanitary Physician as well as guidelines of the Federal Air Transport Agency and consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor”.

Earlier this week Aeroflot Group (which includes subsidiaries Pobeda and Rossiya Airlines) said that it would begin to gradually restore operating volumes from June, “initially focusing on the progressive resumption of flights to domestic destinations”.