Aeroflot Introduces Anti-Masker Seating Zone

Filed Under: Aeroflot

We’ve seen a countless number of people kicked off planes and even banned from airlines over mask compliance. Russia’s Aeroflot is adding another precaution to deal with anti-maskers, which I don’t think we’ve seen at any other airline.

Aeroflot’s seating for anti-maskers

No, during booking Aeroflot won’t ask you if you want to sit in the masker or anti-masker seating zone. 😉 Aeroflot is continuing to make face masks mandatory for all passengers and crew. With this new policy, the airline is taking a different approach to deal with passengers who cause inflight disturbances over mask compliance, after the cabin door closes.

According to media reports, passengers on Aeroflot who refuse to comply with the carrier’s mask policy after the door closes will be put into a special seating zone. Specifically, the last two rows on the right hand side of the economy cabin will be reserved for those who refuse to comply with Aeroflot’s mask policy.

Now, presumably you can’t just inform a flight attendant you don’t want to wear a mask and then they show you to the anti-masker seating area without repercussions. I would assume that there are further punishments for passengers seated in this area.

The idea is that by having this seating zone the airline can at least avoid having to return to the gate or divert, which is extremely costly, and inconvenient for everyone.

It goes without saying that this isn’t a perfect solution — there will potentially be people seated near these passengers, or at a minimum walking by. But at least it puts those who are mask compliant at less risk than otherwise sitting next to someone without a mask.

Aeroflot has new reserved seating for anti-maskers

Aeroflot’s mandatory face mask policy

The announcement of a new anti-masker seating zone follows a press release on Monday from Aeroflot, as the airline announced it would tighten control over face mask policy compliance. It doesn’t seem like the carrier’s face mask policy actually changed, but rather just that the airline is improving compliance (though I’m not sure why there was room for improved compliance to begin with).

Aeroflot’s face mask policy is as follows:

  • Passengers who refuse to wear face masks for any reason will be denied boarding; there are no exceptions, including for medical or other reasons
  • Passengers must use a protective mask that fully covers their nose and mouth, at boarding and throughout the flight
  • A face mask can be removed to be changed and during meals
  • Face masks must be changed every three hours

This dog is probably being shown to the anti-masker seating zone 😉

Bottom line

Aeroflot is reserving seating for passengers who refuse to comply with the carrier’s face mask policy after the cabin door closes. While it might sound like the airline is giving in to anti-maskers, in reality this seems like a practical solution for those situations where passengers cause problems inflight.

Hopefully the airline has a punishment for passengers who end up seated here, because you certainly don’t want to encourage people to be moved back to these seats, where they don’t have to wear a mask.

What do you make of Aeroflot’s seating for those not complying with the mask policy?

  1. Why don’t they also reserve the last few rows for smokers, too? Just for when passengers refuse to follow the non-smoking policy. It would work just as well.

  2. @ Ben — Vape section, crack smoking section, public sex section, what next? Might as well install some disco balls while they are it at.

  3. Nonsense. That is indeed, as others have pointed out, like having a designated pee and poop area in a public swimming pool. If they refuse to wear a mask after the plane is in the air, ban them for 6-12 years from flying the airline.

  4. Love it! That is typical human attitude, mostly those who want to fight or do against the regulations. I support the US way, shame these anti maskers publicly, go back to the gate, take them out off the plane and all costs will be forwarded to these ‘special’ persons and of necessary ban them from flying for life.

  5. As much as I think the mask wearing is a total farce come on. It’s like the TSA-total waste but something to put up with as a part of flying. Just wear the mask, it’s not that hard. I’ve never thought the TSA anything but a huge waste of money but I go through the process anyway albeit Pre Check makes it much easier.

  6. Currently in South Africa you need to leave a row of 3 seats open in the back of the plane for if there is a suspected case on board, and also to be used for those not complying.

  7. Has anyone bothered to report the huge spike in cases in Korea? To the point they are almost out of ICU beds despite near 100% mask compliance.

    Keep believing that cloth masks will save you from a microscopic virus. Just like I’ll keep believing my underwear and jeans keep my fart particals contained.

    Aeroflot at least is being realistic. Why divert just because some ahole refuses to comply. It’s not perfect. But perfect isn’t realistic.

  8. @ George — Well, I guess you will have to “put up with it” if you wish to fly on public transportation. And, masks do work, regardless of what you believe. I guess you also don’t believe that condoms protect from HIV? There are lots of dead people who thought the same thing.

  9. Let’s solve this dilemma democratically: Before each flight there is an election if the passengers want a mask-mandate or not. If the majority is pro mask-mandate everyone has to wear one, otherwise everyone is free to do what they want (including rebooking for free).

  10. “Has anyone bothered to report the huge spike in cases in Korea?”

    This “huge spike” is about 1,000 cases in a day in a country of over 50 million. In contrast, in the US, we’re seeing over 200,000 cases per day in a county of about 317 million. That means the US population is about 6 times the S. Korea population, but has more than 200 times as many daily cases. Not to mention that the test positivity rate in S. Korea is several times lower than the US, so they are catching a much larger percentage of the actual cases. So yeah, I would say the masks are still working.

  11. Let’s solve this dilemma democratically: Before each flight there is an election if the passengers want a mask-mandate or not. If the majority is pro mask-mandate everyone has to wear one, otherwise everyone is free to do what they want (including rebooking for free).

    I guess you don’t realize you’re in the minority. But I think you will find that 100% of flights will have a mask policy enforced, in this case. Airlines instituted mask policies in order to restore the general public’s confidence in air travel. If the general public did not believe in the efficacy of masks, on the whole, then the airlines wouldn’t do it in the first place. They’re in business to make money, they don’t just do things irrationally (whether or not you agree with them).

  12. @Luke

    The irony is that most people who are afraid of the virus and who are sh***ing their pants over mask-compliance are not flying at all.

  13. Just put this in the carriage contract: Any extra cost associated with returning to the gate to remove passengers who refused to wear the mask will be incurred by the offenders.

    Let’s see how many are willing to break the rules.

  14. @Antipode No doubt. Every country has objectively done better. The data proves it. The point is that masks are not the panacea that people like you want to make them into. They are part of an overall strategy that a majority of the population must adhere to (voluntarily) order to see the full benefit.

    America is not that country. And won’t be regardless of who occupies a largely ceremonial office in DC.

    This policy addresses the issue without burdening the rest of the flight for an incremental benefit.

    And for those who say charge the offender for the cost. Good luck. Blood from a turnip. Airlines would spend millions litigating to get pennies.

    So now what? Do you want to solve problems or just have something to complain about?

  15. @Gene
    “I guess you also don’t believe that condoms protect from HIV?”

    Well, using a condom to cover your nose and mouth gives you most certainly an almost 100% protection, whereas a mask used…..

    stupid comparision, right!?

  16. This solution is dumb. It’s not a solution. There is no shield or division between those rows and the rest of the cabin and no separate ventilation. So these people are physically separated, but the air is the same. It is like a child being sent to the naughty chair or naughty corner. That won’t stop someone several rows up from getting the virus if one of those people are infected. Besides, if it is 3x4x3 configuration that only gives you 20 seats. What happens if there are more.

  17. There is a discussion about introducing mask-free zones on some of SK’s and AY’s intra-Scandinavian flights. Most of the people would be happy to see them – those who are the most afraid are not the ones that fly the most often.
    Anyways the masks seem not to yield any positive results, it’s just wishful thinking (moreover, they can lead to lack of social distance, as people have the fake sense of safety then) – maskless countries are doing much better that countries with mask mandates and two European airlines – Amapola and Transaviabaltika have been carrying passengers for last months without any mask requirement and there were no outbreaks onboard. Belavia with no enforcement of mask policy at all (even some crew are not wearing them) is also doing well.

  18. I definitely see Aeroflot’s perspective here. As someone who flies Aeroflot frequently (not in 2020, unfortunately), I think it is a decent solution. In Russia, there is a big anti-mask movement, at least in the region where I live. If Aeroflot returned to the gate every time someone refused to comply with the mask requirement, then most flights would be either delayed or diverted and cost the airline millions, which they simply can’t afford. Place the few imbeciles that refuse to wear a mask at the back like the second-class citizens they are, and keep going without inconveniencing the majority of adequate passengers on the plane.

  19. Ryan, yes Korea’s cases have risen, but it still has about 48,000 total cases and 650 deaths total in a country of 77 million. Maybe masks do work after all.

  20. Mandatory fine for removing your mask during flight -$500-1000.
    You sign an acknowledgment and provide your credit card prior to boarding. When these a-holes have to put their money where their superspreader mouths are, it tends to change the equation.

  21. I highly doubt Russian government will give money to Aerflot like US gov did. They still need to do their business. But I’m happy to see that Russian people didn’t loose common sense and are more honest, kind and progressive. In this case Aeroflot’s action is less discrimenatory than United’s, just admit it.

    Just think about it: if you wear mask why are u so worried about others not wearing it around you. You are protected by it, right? Or you have doubts? I’m wearing mask to protect myself and not others, but I do not believe it protects me 100% and I don’t want to join pro-masks cult. When others wearing masks around me it doesn’t protect me either, I’m aware of that. Wearing/not wearing masks should be personal choice or let’s just call people who don’t wear masks terrorists and banned them from flying for life? How about that? In the end of the day none of us cares if guy without mask will catch covid by not wearing it, you just want him to abide by the rules like you do. How hypocritical is all that?

    Comparison to pool in above comments is ridiculous. If I go to public pool in US by default I assume it’s nasty like any other public place, transport, restroom, etc. You use public plane because you cannot afford private jet. So let Aerflot, United, AA, etc. do whatever they want to do, because they own the jet you’re in plus government you’re voting for (red or blue). And if you so into rules and anti human rights move to China and get chased by the drone.

    Anyways, way to go Aerflot and Russia!

  22. Oxana, the personal motivation for wearing masks may be as much protecting yourself as not spreading infection if one happens to be asymptomatic, but your chances of catching it from infected persons are lower if they wear masks. I certainly want the people close to me on a plane to wear masks – it makes perfect sense to make it mandatory for all passengers. Aeroflot is likely doing for business reasons – if someone refuses to mask up, it is faster/less costly to move them to the back of the plane than to make them leave the plane, unload their baggage, etc.

  23. Everyone talking about ‘peeing sections’ in a pool or Aeroflot giving in to anti-maskers is incredibly silly. I can’t believe they’re all so wrong despite Ben repeatedly pointing out that that’s not at all what aeroflot’s doing here. They still have very strict mask rules in place, and enforce them just as strictly. The only change is they now reserve the last two rows for situations where someone outright refuses to wear a mask – so they can stick them in the back instead of immediately diverting. The offender WILL, if they refuse to put on a mask to the extent that they have to be placed in the reserved seats at the back, be banned from Aeroflot when the flight lands, and I believe they will also be fined. Also, this post mentions that they allow people to not wear masks for medical reasons, but I believe that’s very heavily restricted. I.e. for most ‘medical reasons’ they will literally not let you fly, rather than letting you fly without a mask.

  24. It’s silly indeed. I thought they didn’t ban people. Do they ban everyone even frequent flyers (no refunds then?), business class people? And what if only Aerflot flies to one of the towns how will they go back? Train? Car?
    Now this rule make sense though. Their instagram is filled with 50% off promos. I will read online on rzd rules)

  25. @Mishas I personally think I will be fine with or without mask. In the end it’s all about our immune system. I don’t think it’s cleaner or safer now with a mask, air is still recirculating on the plane (Hepa filters that Aeroflot claims to use and make it safer doesn’t filter out viruses, it is nonsense that they put on their web page + ‘air is better than in the office building’ info is irrelevant). It’s definitely harder to breath in mask and I had headaches after air travel. When I leave airport and I can take off mask and I have a deep breath, this is the happiest moment of my trip. IDK how frequent flyers managing masks wearing for 6+ hrs? What is going to be next wearing masks with UV filter? Lol Please remember it’s just piece of fabric that we are arguing about. We can just call it a new norm for now, wear mask and move on, I guess, but I still believe it should be a personal choice. Recently I learned that we get more radiation from air travel than from X-ray, but we don’t wear any lead based covers on the flight, right? It can be stupid analogy though.

  26. It’s not OK and a big risk for these couple of passengers to not wear a mask, but it’s OK for the whole plane to de-mask at the same time during beverage/snack service? I don’t think the virus takes a time out just because you’re eating.

  27. I highly doubt Russians think the same way as Americans, they will wear mask not to get fined as most of the population is poor. Viruses are the least of people concerns when you have no food on your table. I won’t use Aerflot as it discreminates against its own customers and writing bunch of non-factual marketing nonsense on their website. I will choose other airlines or old but gold RZD (trains). Yes, it will take longer for me to get to my hometown, but it’s for common people like me.

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