Cathay Pacific is allowing passengers to remove their masks during a flight – but only if they’re flying longhaul in business or first class.
The airline has amended its own rules, which previously allowed passengers to remove their face coverings only when eating or drinking, so passengers in lie-flat beds can use them without the need for a mask.
In an internal memo first reported by Executive Traveller, the airline detailed the reasoning for the policy being that the premium cabins offer suite-style seats with high enclosures surrounding the passenger. “Seats in first and business class are more spacious with partitions, and passengers are exempted when lying flat for sleep,” an airline spokesperson said.
“Our aircraft are equipped with HEPA filtration systems that are capable of filtering 99.999 per cent of dust particles and airborne contaminants such as viruses and bacteria, ensuring the highest possible cabin air quality.”
However, not all airline staff are happy about the rule changes.
“Under this instruction, many crew members are worried about [becoming infected with] Covid-19 after close contact with passengers,” said Cheung Shu-wang, chairman at the Staffs and Workers Union of Hong Kong Civil Airlines, according to The Standard.