Garuda Indonesia drops controversial plan to ban face-masks for cabin crew
Earlier this week, Garuda Indonesia had announced that its flight attendants will forego wearing face masks, thereby attempting to go in a completely different direction to that of every other airline in the world.
However, on Friday, the flag carrier said it is scrapping the plan. Garuda’s boss Irfan Setiaputra had previously announced that the airline was considering face shields as an alternative to masks to ensure that customers could see the facial expressions of the cabin crew.
On Friday, however, Irfan said face shields “will not replace face masks but will complement them instead”.
“We are evaluating the most appropriate and safe PPE (personal protective equipment) to be used by our flight crew while also considering the comfort and freedom of interaction with passengers,” Setiaputra said in a statement.
Earlier during the week, he said many Garuda passengers complained that since flight attendants are wearing masks, passengers could not see if the attendants were smiling or pouting. He went on to say that flying should be a pleasurable experience, and he did not want passengers to feel like they were in an intensive care unit (ICU).
The International Air Travel Association (IATA) has strongly recommended face masks as the primary measure to curb the transmission of COVID-19 during travel. Garuda Indonesia’s flight crew have worn face masks and gloves, since domestic flights resumed on May 7.
On June 4, the airline introduced mono-use food packaging, and removed reading materials and pillows from the flights. The carrier is also deeply disinfecting its planes.