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Back in March, we wrote about how airlines were reacting to – what was then – a new cause of disruption to their services, and how they were keeping their planes clean and reassuring passengers in the face of a growing global pandemic. We even coined the term ‘flygienic’ to describe the new way of flying that we were seeing.

The following weeks have seen an unprecedented contraction of air travel, with the cancellation of thousands of flights and the postponement of holiday plans for travellers around the world.

cabin crew in PPE

But gradually, airlines are beginning to start flying again – albeit on a reduced basis, or to a limited number of destinations. With that has come an even greater focus on how they’re prioritising passenger safety and limiting the potential for further outbreaks through changes to their onboard services, and ground operations.

To make it easy for you, we’ve produced the following guide summarising the measures that some airlines are introducing to make it safe to fly. Etihad’s newly-introduced Wellness Ambassadors (pictured) are a great example of how an airline has stepped up to face the challenge.

Only time will tell whether these changes become more permanent in the long-term. Serious disruptions to air travel in the past, like those caused by the 9/11 attacks in 2001, forever changed the flying experience, as tighter security measures became the norm. Will we see compulsory passenger health screening join those? Will we all need to carry a ‘health passport’?

Who knows – but we’ll be sure to continue to share future developments with you. And we’ll update the information below as we receive more details from the airlines.

Until then, fly safe.


(Click on the name for more info)

Face-covering policy

Aircraft hygiene & screening measures

Onboard food & drink

Inflight service changes


Facemasks mandatory on all aircraft at all times. ‘Customer care kits’ issued to all customers prior to boarding, including hand sanitiser and wipes.

Each aircraft deep cleaned daily, all high touch and hard surface areas santised between each flight. All aircraft with HEPA air filtration systems.

Serving bottled water and pre-packed meals on flights where complimetary meals had been available (Business and First class). Food service suspended in Economy and Premium Economy class on domestic flights and flights to the USA from Canada.

No blanket or pillow service in Economy or Premium cabins.

Every adjacent seat in Economy blocked off until 30th June. All Air Canada lounges currently closed, and chauffuer service suspended. No inflight-shopping service.

Facemasks available for crew and passengers on request, seating allocated to allow for empty seats between customers travelling alone.

All aircraft fitted with hospital-grade filtration systems. High touch surface areas regularly disinfected.

To minimise contact only be offering water onboard as our inflight beverage, snack and lolly service will not be served in the short term.

Information not currently available

Inflight magazines and newspapers removed. Pre-flight seat selection suspended. Restricted access to lounges (limited to 100 people) and no self service buffet.

Facemasks mandatory on all aircraft at all times.

Expanded use of a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria and lasts up to seven days. Deep cleaning tray tables, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window shades, seatback screens, doors and overhead bin handles. All aircraft fitted with HEPA filters.

Flights up to 900 miles: No snacks, alcohol or food served. Juice and water by request only. Flights between 900 – 2,199 miles: Main cabin – No snacks, alcohol or food for purchase. Complimentary pretzels or chips on boarding. Juice and water by request only during flight. First Class – No snacks or meals, no alcohol before departure. Alcohol during flight by request only. Flights over 2,200 miles: Main cabin – Meals and alcohol only on long-haul international flights. No snacks or food for purchase. First Class – Alcohol available, meal served on a single tray.

Information not currently available

Closed or consolidated, check website before departure to airport. No pre-departure seat selection.

Facemasks mandatory on all aircraft at all times.

Disinfectant cleaning fluids are used on every aircraft after each flight to thoroughly clean all hard surfaces in the cabins and lavatories. All aircraft are fitted with HEPA filters which remove particulate and bacterial contamination and provide passengers with clean air to provide the same level of air filtration as hospital operating theatres.

Special dietary requirements and allergies are no longer catered. Customers can bring their own food that doesn’t require heating or chilling, although baby milk can still be heated. Short-haul flights: Food and drink no longer available for purchase. Complimentary light refreshments and water will be offered. Hot drinks available on request. Long-haul flights: Hot and cold drinks, and light refreshments only.

Information not currently available

Information not currently available

Required for all passengers in situations where they cannot maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6.5 feet) from others.

Strict disinfection of surfaces and fixtures like personal TV screens, meal tables, baby bassinets, and armrests across the aircraft after every flight. Staff are trained with the latest hygiene protocols and cleaning procedures, using products recommended by IATA and WHO. If a COVID-19 case is detected, a further five-hour deep clean of the whole aircraft is conducted by a specialist team. All Cathay planes come fitted with the HEPA filtration systems that capture 99.999% of dust particles and airborne contaminants, ensuring the highest possible quality of cabin air.

Inflight meals are prepared to the highest food safety standards. Preparation and storage procedures adhere to the standards of regulatory authorities in Hong Kong and around the world.

Trolley services in First and Business class suspended, and meals served on a single tray. Providing a snack bag and hot snack service in Premium Economy and Economy class. Hot towels, pillows, blankets, magazines and inflight duty-free sales have also been temporarily suspended.

All Cathay airport lounges are currently closed, excluding those at Shanghai Pudong. Health updates broadcast to all passengers on arrival in Hong Kong.

Facemasks mandatory on all flights.

After each flight, crews use electrostatic sprayers to sanitize aircraft interiors with a high-grade disinfectant. Cleaning crews then perform extensive manual cleaning procedures and wipe down surfaces including seats, consoles, screens, windows, doors, lavatories and other high-contact areas. Blankets are removed after each flight to be washed, dried and folded by industrial-strength machines. Blankets are transported back to the plane in a plastic bag, where they stay until provisioned for customer use. All aircraft are fitted with HEPA filtration systems.

For international/long-haul flights: Main cabin: Entrée and desert, choice of beverages. Premium Class: Entrée, salad, bread and desert, choice of beverages. First Class: Pre-departure beverage, entrée, bread, salad and desert, choice of beverages. Check their website for food and drinks services on domestic and short-haul international flights.

Amenity kits for customers on long-haul international flights include hand cleanser or cleansing towelettes. All non-essential items including inflight magazines and glassware have been removed from service. Hot towel service ended.

Lounges either closed or consolidated and services including showers and food offerings reduced.

Facemasks manadatory for all crew and passengers at all times and all flights will be equipped with spare sanitary equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitiser to ensure these are available to customers and crew at all times onboard, if required.

easyJet has teamed up with a Marvel Comics artist to create these fun facemask covers for kids (to be worn over their own mask).

Every aircraft will be subject to a daily disinfection process which provides surface protection from viruses that lasts for at least 24 hours. All aircraft are fitted with HEPA air filtration systems.

No food and drink service onboard when flights initially restart.

Once onboard, crew will invite customers to sit at distance from customers not in their party where seats are available.

Onboard shopping service suspended. Customers will be asked to present and scan their own documents at check in and boarding.

Facemasks mandatory on all flights. Gloves recommended but not required. Passengers should expect thermal screening at the airport prior to boarding. Emirates is providing passengers with a complimentary hygiene kit prior to boarding which includes facemask, gloves, hand gel and wipes.

Separate crew terminal with health screening before every flight. Rapid COVID-19 testing for every passenger before boarding. Onboard crew member responsible for onboard hygience on every flight. Find out more here.

Passengers can pre-order a limited selection of dietary meals through the Manage Your Booking section online 48 hours before their flight. To reduce contact, a simpler single-use menu is offered in First Class and Business Class. In Economy Class, cabin crew will share the choices with you. All cutlery is hygienically sealed. Customers can still dine at any time in First Class on flights over 3.5 hours in duration. Children’s meals are only available in First and Business Class.

All onboard retail has been paused, magazines and newspapers are no longer being offered, comfort items (pillows, blankets, etc) are only available on request on long haul flights and are hygenically wrapped. ‘Minimal’ cabin baggage permitted.

Airport lounges closed and chauffeur service suspended. Seat selection and online check-in closed.

Crew wear facemasks and protective clothing at all times. Passengers provided with Wellness Kits prior to boarding, with facemasks, gloves and sanitiser. Facemasks are mantatory during flights.

New seat covers and carpets on every aircraft, which are all fitted with HEPA filters. All aircraft are deep cleaned and sanitised on arrival at their destination.

All of the food served goes through vigorous testing, in line with strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Cabin baggage limited to one 5kg bag per person. Hand sanitiser provided on all meal trays and in all onboard bathrooms. Seat maps are been redesigned to ensure maximum distance between passengers during every flight.

Lounges are currently closed. Specially-trained ‘Etihad Wellness Ambassadors’ are deployed online, at the airport and onboard every flight to ensure hygiene protocols are adhered to and any questions can be answered.

Information not currently available.

Information not currently available.

Information not currently available.

Information not currently available.

Information not currently available.

N/A, but all crew and passengers are temperature screened prior to boarding.

All aircraft fitted with HEPA filtration systems, all aircraft cleaned with a manufacturer-approved cleaner between each flight, and deep cleaned with a hydrogen peroxide solution if a passenger is suspected of being infected.

Disposable cutlery in use throughout fleet.

‘Comfort items’ like pillows and blankets are changed after very flight.

Information not currently available

Facemasks recommended for crew and passengers, sanitising wipes available. Hygiene packs given to passengers prior to boarding.

All aircraft fitted with HEPA air filtration systems, enhanced cleaning of aircraft with a disinfectant effective against coronaviruses, with a focus on high contact areas – seats, seatbelts, overhead lockers, air vents and toilets.

Food and beverage service reduced.

Inflight entertainment and magazines removed.

Passengers encouraged to online check in and boarding passes, self service baggage drop off and to limit movement around the cabin during flight – to avoid contact.

N/A, but all crew and passengers are temperature screened prior to boarding.

All aircraft fitted with HEPA filtration systems and regularly deep cleaned. All onboard linen washed and dried at high temperature before being resealed.

All cutlery sanitised between flights and individually wrapped. Crew gloved for meal service.

Information not currently available

Information not currently available

‘Face coverings’ mandatory throughout each flight.

All aircraft cleaned and disinfected daily, and fitted with HEPA air filtration systems.

Limited offering of wrapped snacks and cold drinks only – payment by card only.

Inflight sales reduced to a limited selection of items, no cash transactions. Seatbelt sign with remain on for the entire flight and passengers will have to request permission from crew to use the toilet to avoid queues forming.

Passengers encouraged to use online / mobile boarding pass and self service kiosks to minimise contact.

Facemasks mandatory throughout each flight, and all passengers health screened prior to boarding. All crew temperature checked prior to boarding, and required to wear goggles when interacting with passengers.

All aircraft subject to athorough cleaning process that includes the use of an approved strong disinfectant to clean all common areas. All aircraft fitted with HEPA filtration systems. Headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, bedsheets, and blankets replaced after every flight.

Meal services suspended for flights within Southeast Asia and services to Mainland China, where a snack bag with water and refreshments will be provided instead. Meals will be provided on all other flights. Customers requiring special meals can request one from a reduced list, based on International Air Transport Association guidelines. Special dietary requirements can’t be catered for. The pre-ordering of meals, including the Book The Cook service, has been suspended for all inbound flights to Singapore.

Suspension of hot towel service, as well as the removal of menu cards and seatback literature such as magazines on all flights.

Inflight purchases suspended for all flights. Amenity kits still be available on applicable flights and classes. Newspapers and magazines will no longer be provided on all flights to and from Singapore.

Crew to wear facemasks and gloves on flights, facemasks issued to passengers who exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms.

Passenger cabin and cockpit disinfected on all flights returning from high risk destinations for a total of 45 minutes beginning from the moment that the last cabin crew member disembarks the aircraft. Deep cleaning of 36 high contact touch points after every flight.
All aircrafted fitted with HEPA air filtration systems.

No information currently available.

No pillow, blanket or hot towels service.

Passengers prohibited from touching any inflight catering.


Facemasks required on all flights.

All aircraft fitted with HEPA air filtration systems.

Pre-order and cashless payment for food and beverages.

No lines in aisles. Seats assigned apart as much as possible on flights with lower occupancy.

Staggered boarding in small groups, paperless ticketing.

Facemasks mandatory on all flights for crew and passengers, and all crew and passengers are temperature screened prior to boarding, with ‘Sneeze Guards’ placed at boarding gate.

United has partnered with Clorox to deliver an industry-leading standard of cleanliness by disinfecting high-touch areas like arm rests, door handles, lavatories, seatback screens and seat belts, equipping employees with hand sanitizer, and providing hand sanitizer wipes for passengers as they board. At hub airports, cabins are sanitized with electrostatic spraying. All planes are fitted with HEPA filtration systems.

They’ve introduced an ‘all-in-one’ snack bag that includes a wrapped sanitizer wipe, bottled water, Stroopwafel and packet of pretzels. This replaces the complimentary Economy snack and beverage service on domestic flights scheduled for 2 hours and 20 minutes or more.

Information not currently available

‘Touchless check in’ for customers with hold bags.

All staff and crew will be wearing facemasks, passengers asked to do the same aswell. Crew will also be conducting health screening checks prior to boarding. All passengers issued with a Health Pack onboard with medical grade masks, surface wipes and hand gel.

All planes are cleaned after each flight using a high-grade registered disinfecting product that is effective against viruses. For all flights, cleaning teams are required to complete a rigorous checklist for cabin cleanliness, including disinfecting cabin surfaces and customer contact areas like seats, door handles, tray tables, inflight entertainment screens and floors. All common area surfaces in galleys and lavatories are also disinfected using the same high-grade disinfectant. All aircraft fitted with HEPA filtration systems.

One main meal service delivered with juices and soft drinks
Orange juice and water services available throughout each flight

No onboard shopping sevice or inflight magazine.

Passengers will be asked to scan own boarding pass and hold up passport at boarding gate, boarding will be limited to small groups to avoid contact/congestion in the aircraft aisles.

As well as the airlines making it safe to fly, there are some small steps you can take. Read our tips on how to have a hygienic flight during the coronavirus pandemic.