Flight attendant uniforms now come with face masks

Qatar Airways crew prepare to enter Sydney international airport to fly a repatriation flight back to France on April 2, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (AFP pic)

When flight attendants come by with the drinks trolley in post-Covid-19 air travel, many of them may ask if you prefer coffee or tea through a face mask.

For United Airlines, JetBlue and Frontier cabin crew, the newest addition to the flight attendant uniform will be a face mask, a mandatory measure aimed at protecting both staff and passengers.

The move comes after the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines in the US, issued a letter to the Department of Transportation’s Elaine Chao, asking the Secretary of Transportation to mandate the use of masks for airline crews until the virus is contained.

“Since flight attendant ability to practice social distancing is challenging in the aircraft cabin and on most other forms of public transportation, it is essential that we wear masks as often as possible so long as Covid-19 remains a threat to public health,” reads the letter.

“In addition, passengers on all modes of public transport should be encouraged to wear masks in the short term and mandated by emergency regulation as soon as practicable. This will further minimise risks to themselves, the public transport workforce on which they are reliant, and our healthcare infrastructure, which must cope with the surge of infected patients unless we curb the spread.”

Last week, Air Canada made face coverings and masks mandatory among its passengers during various stages of their air travel journey, notably during check-in, boarding and in-flight, where social distancing is not possible.

Home-made cloth masks, scarves and non-medical masks are accepted.