Emirates has taken a very pragmatic approach to hygiene in – perhaps – the most advanced myriad of sanitisation products to ensure a safer journey without impacting the passenger experience in a way so far removed from what we were once used to. The airline’s model shows potential blueprints for a mid-term approach to travelling post-COVID.
Even the language the airline is using is reassuring and seemingly straightforward. “Emirates is implementing a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the traveller’s journey, to enhance the sanitisation of all touch points, and ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees. The risk of catching an infection on an aircraft is already very low, but we have spared no effort in reviewing and redesigning every step, from check-in to disembarkation. Every measure implemented is an additional reduction in risk, and taken altogether, our aim is really to make flying as safe as possible,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer.
The main physical manifestations include Emirates complimentary hygiene kits to be given to every passenger upon check in at Dubai International Airport and on flights to Dubai, comprising of masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser all packaged in a super-hygienic branded card box.
Onboard, new cabin service assistants will ensure toilets are regularly cleaned and the hygiene of the aircraft stays to the highest of standards. Comfort items such as mattresses, pillows, blankets, headphones and toys will be hygienically sealed. And unlike the service found on the likes of KLM, Emirates will now resume its service with hot meals, using high quality, cutlery and crockery, sterilised before each use.
It’s elements like this we expected to see in the mid-term future as predicted in our Future of Travel white paper, but great to see airlines already adopting this forward-thinking approach to hygiene based on data and research, rather than a knee-jerk reactionary approach based on fear.
It’s also good to see the airline announcing an approach to safeguard its staff, with cars provided for flight and cabin crew for pick up and drop off at their home at the beginning and end of their duty. Layovers in destination cities have been reduced where possible and on long-haul flights, where layovers are necessary, crew are put up in individual rooms in hotels. On return to Dubai, where all Emirates cabin crew are based, COVID-19 tests are done on all crew. Every crew member has been mandated a 14-day quarantine in their homes after every flight, unless they are on duty.