Finnair introduces new onboard health measures as passenger numbers grow

by James Wilkinson

Air travel will gradually start to recover as travel restrictions are lifted and to make flying as safe as possible, Finnair says it is preparing for gradually growing passenger numbers with several new measures.

“Now that air travel gradually begins to recover and passenger numbers start to grow, we want everyone to be able to fly with confidence”, says Piia Karhu, SVP, Customer Experience at Finnair. “With these additional measures, we are supporting the health of our customers and employees at the airport and onboard.”

Finnair has already earlier this spring implemented several changes to protect the health of customers and employees. The service process and in-flight service have been amended, customers are seated as far away from each other onboard as possible, there are plastic shields at service points and aircraft cleaning has been further intensified. Customer service personnel follow a no-touch policy with customers’ travel documents and baggage.

The most visible change to customers now is the requirement wear a mask for the entire duration of the flight. This measure is in effect from May 18 to at least until the end of August.

“Customers will board the flight with their own mask and wear it throughout the flight,” Karhu says. “Also, Finnair’s customer facing staff at the airport as well as the cabin crew will wear surgical masks. We decided to introduce this measure because the usage of masks is becoming more widespread and they protect passengers from possible droplet infections. When everyone wears a mask, we’re able to protect each other.”

“We recommend that customers acquire a mask that fits them already before their flight, pack as little as possible and check in online or with a mobile app – all of these reduce waiting times and contacts at the airport,” Karhu says.

“I’m confident everyone also understands that they won’t be able to board a flight if there is the slightest suspicion of a COVID-19 infection or if they have respiratory symptoms.”

Finnair says it will review these measures on a regular basis and update them as needed and the announcement comes as Finavia, the Finnish airport operator, has also introduced new measures at Finnish airports.

Customer facing employees at the airports will wear surgical masks, floor stickers mark social distancing rules at airports, customer service points are equipped with plastic shields and hand sanitiser is available in various locations.

Finnair says according to medical experts, an aircraft is not a particularly risky environment to get an infection due to the highly efficient air conditioning and filters that keep the air very clean.

As you’re planning your travel, Finnair says it’s a good idea to find out about possible restrictions and guidance at your destination. Many countries require people to wear a mask at airports or public transport, so the airline says travellers should make sure they have enough masks for the entire duration of the trip.

It’s also important to take care of hand hygiene, so packing your own sanitiser and disinfecting wipes makes good sense, the airline says.