Flight warning: Passengers urged to wear masks or risk being ‘offloaded’ from planes

Air travel is one of many aspects of the travel and tourism industry that has undergone major changes since the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year. Airlines have imposed new rules for flyers which include wearing face masks at all times and using contactless payment online. Airlines have also introduced stringent new cleaning procedures to ensure that their customers have peace of mind while flying.

Although the new measures are in place to help halt the spread of coronavirus, some people are refusing to wear face masks during flights.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging all travellers to wear a face covering during a journey for their own protection and safety, as well as those travelling with them.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are recommending the use of masks.

Recent reports have revealed that some passengers are ignoring the recommendations and are instead refusing to wear a mask or face covering.

Some incidents in which individuals have refused to wear masks have reportedly led to violent outbursts.

The result of this is both costly and disruptive to airlines and other travellers.

The recent reports have led to IATA emphasising the need for passengers to wear masks or face coverings.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general said that passengers need to understand how important it is to wear a face covering.

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He said: “This is a call for common sense and taking responsibility.

“The vast majority of travellers understand the importance of face covering both for themselves as well as for their fellow passengers, and airlines appreciate this collective effort.

“But a small minority creates problems.

“Safety is at the core of aviation, and compliance with crew safety instructions is the law.

“Failure to comply can jeopardise a flight’s safety, disrupt the travel experience of other passengers and impact the work environment for crew.”

IATA said a plane ticket is a contract whereby a passenger agrees to an airline’s terms and conditions.

Airlines have the right to remove a person whose behaviour interferes with a flight, violates government regulations or threatens the safety of other passengers if those are the conditions on the ticket.

IATA added: “Failure to comply means that a passenger faces the risk of being offloaded from their flight, restrictions on future carriage or penalties under national laws.”

When masks are worn, they can help stop the spread of coronavirus by 90 percent, according to a study by the University of Edinburgh.

IATA’s Medical Advisor, Dr David Powell said: “The research we have seen to date, and our own investigations with the world’s airlines, tell us that the risk of catching COVID-19 on a flight remains very low.

“There appears to be a number of factors supporting that.

“The high flow rate of cabin air from top to bottom, constant filtering of air through state-of-the-art HEPA filters, the fact that all seats face the same direction and of course wearing a face covering and sanitisation of the aircraft all play a part.”

He added: “This is not just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting everyone else on the flight.”

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