Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Flying in a time of pandemic - not for me, thanks

Photos from a packed Aer Lingus flight from Belfast to London the other day has put air travel during the coronavirus outbreak well and truly in the crosshairs.
No social/physical distancing here, no masks, not even the offer of hand sanitizer. The same lines to board, the same scrum to retrieve bags from the overhead lockers at the end. In fact, no mention at all of any pandemic, either before, during of after the flight. I'm not surprised that the flight staff strongly discouraged the taking of photos on the flight.
Now, you could say that anyone with the poor judgement to want to fly at the moment deserves everything they get, but they probably expected a few more precautions once on board. Aer Lingus say they are reviewing their coronavirus procedures(!), but you might think they would have thought about that before the flight. And who are all these people who are that desperate to fly from Belfast to London anyway?
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has come out in favour of the wearing of masks on flights (on a seven hour flight? including meals?), although for some reason it recommends against airlines leaving middle seats empty to encourage social distancing (ticket pricing considerations, perhaps?) But surely the constant air recirculation on planes would make any other precautions redundant. Although studies suggest that modern jet filters can screen out pathogens from the recycled air, I for one would not take that risk with this particular pathogen, and just being in an enclosed space with all those strangers seems like reason enough to avoid it. You certainly won't see me flying any time soon...

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