By plane with masks but no distancing: here are all the rules


You will fly with the mask connected, free of hand luggage, without health passport. On the other hand, when theplane it will be full you will sit next to each other like in the past: at high altitudes the obligation of social distancing only applies up to a certain point. This was established by the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) which together with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has developed the guidelines for traveling safely by air in the EU.

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“The physical distance of 1.5 meters between passengers must be guaranteed to the extent possible,” explains EASA. However, passengers will have to wear a mask on planes with more than two thirds of the seats occupied. Last week the European Commission had already provided a series of recommendations which excluded airlines from the obligation to leave the middle seats empty in order to reduce the risk of infection. In the US too, medical protection is being used to save air traffic. The Emirate Qatar Airways has instead established that the crew will even have to wear special anti-contagion suits.

The guidelines come after pressing the vectors which, in order to try to start again, must be able to aim at filling their vehicles at this stage. If on the one hand the obligation to wear a mask on board has been introduced, on the other a formula has been found to effectively allow the companies the freedom to decide whether or not to enforce the recommended distances in flight. Satisfied Ryanair who previously said that she would not have returned to fly if the empty seats policy had prevailed: from July she will restart 40% of her flight schedule. Lufthansa breathes a sigh of relief, which this month made the masks on his planes mandatory until August 31: the German company, which in June will re-establish some routes in Italy bringing from 21 to 33 weekly departures from our country, considers the use of medical protective devices a valid alternative to the empty seat policy. Alitalia already adopted the anti-contagion measure on flights with a large number of travelers in March. Easyjet, which in mid-June will reactivate a series of domestic routes in the United Kingdom and France, has made it known that passengers will have to wear a mask and has not excluded the implementation of further restrictions and even the return to the empty seats strategy if conditions made it necessary.

But the EASA recommendations do not just clarify the masks and distances to be respected. Only departing passengers can access the terminals. Those who have a body temperature above 38 degrees will not be able to take off: the checks will take place in the check-in area. Instead, EASA rejected health tests such as serological tests for the release of the so-called immunity passport. The European Aviation Safety Agency then invites carriers to develop offers that can reduce hand baggage on board as much as possible, to prevent flight attendants from coming into contact with customers’ personal belongings. During the boarding and disembarking phase, passengers will be called by name and made to get on and off separately.

Finally, on flights where the number of free seats will allow the rules of distancing to be applied, members of the same family and cohabitants will still be able to travel nearby. In short, with the new anti-Covid rules, flying will never be the same again. The IATA, the worldwide airline association, has also taken sides against the obligation to travel with a reduced capacity. Even in China there is no obligation for carriers to leave part of the seats free. In the United States the same rules apply and so we proceed in random order. Elsewhere, as in Malaysia, flights can only be half filled.

Last updated: 10:32


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