Flight Attendants In China Told To Wear Diapers

Filed Under: Misc.

We’ve seen flight attendants wear all kinds of PPE to keep themselves (and others) safe when traveling. However, using diapers as PPE is a new one for me…

CAAC recommends diapers for crews

Bloomberg reports on how the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has published an updated 38-page list of guidelines for airlines, intended to stop the spread of coronavirus. This is the sixth edition of the guidance issued.

The CAAC is recommending that on charter flights to high-risk countries, flight attendants wear disposable diapers so that they can avoid using the lavatories, since that’s the area of the plane where you have the highest risk of infection.

High-risk countries are defined as those with infections exceeding 500 per million people. I would guess that’s based on average weekly cases, in which case the US more than qualifies (we’re at 600+ cases per million in the past week).

The section on personal protective equipment recommends that flight attendants wear medical protective masks, double-layer disposable medical rubber gloves, goggles, disposable caps, disposable protective clothing, and disposable shoe covers.

Now, in fairness, these are just recommendations — crews are only required to wear masks and goggles, while the diapers are optional, at least on the CAAC level (individual airlines can also set stricter policies, of course).

The CAAC also recommends that airlines divide cabins into four zones, including the clean area, the buffer zone, the passenger sitting area, and the quarantine area, which each section separated by disposable curtains. It’s recommended that the last three rows of planes should be designated as emergency quarantine areas.

And here I was thinking that this is extreme PPE…

Wow, diapers…

I understand that China has coronavirus under control, and that takes hard work and discipline. But… diapers? I just have a lot of logistical questions.

You already get a waft of just about everyone’s odor as they walk by you on a plane, since there’s not exactly a lot of space between aisles and seats. It’s one of the few places where you’re forced to be that close to a stranger’s nether-regions (well, at least involuntarily… I’m not judging).

Am I the only one who finds it absolutely horrifying that a flight attendant would be using disposable diapers on an ultra long haul flight, without the ability to change them (after all, the whole point is to avoid visiting the lavatory altogether)? I feel like at that point maybe a blanket flight ban is a better option?

Now, in fairness, it’s important to emphasize that these are merely recommendations from the CAAC, and this applies to charter flights. At the same time, the CAAC is the aviation authority, and many airlines in China are government owned (directly or indirectly), so you’d think some airlines would follow recommendations.

This wouldn’t be fun on a long haul flight

Bottom line

The CAAC is recommending that flight attendants on charter flights to high risk destinations wear disposable diapers to avoid using lavatories.

On the one hand, lavatories are the highest risk part of the plane, due to the lack of air circulation. On the other hand, diapers.

  1. Lucky, I saw an article that said European airlines recommend to keep valves for air closed while us airlines strongly recommend keeping them open.

    any guidance?

  2. I’m expecting the perennial fight over whether parents should be allowed to change their babies’ diapers on the airplane seat will now shift to whether FAs should be allowed to change their own diapers on their seats…

  3. So you will get your DimSum served by an attendant walking around with a brown sixpounder in his diaper?
    I have never flown on a Chinese airline but clearly this is no incentive to even consider it.

  4. @endre

    Do you have any evidence whatsoever that China doesn’t in fact have the virus under control?

    Data point: China’s recent response to a small outbreak in Qingdao was to test all nine million people in the city in less than a week. China has done the same sort of thing in many large cities.

    Personal data point: my friend left her home in Shanghai, visited Beijing, and was required by Shanghai municipality to do a kind of quarantine before being allowed to return to Shanghai. This is how you beat the virus.

    Or have a look at photos of what life is like in China’s great cities now. To American eyes, it’s like looking at an alien world:
    Pool party anyone? https://www.smartshanghai.com/pictures/13205

    Tending toward a rant, but I’m a little sick of butthurt faux-patriots and/or closeted racists ignoring the reality that America has completely blown its response while many countries in the world, including China, have managed the threat of COVID-19 quite effectively.

  5. Agree with Claus, they should be able to reserve/lock one bathroom for crew members only. And what about pilots, are they supposed to wear diapers also? (Although I’ve never seen an airplane lavatory that can be locked from the outside.)

  6. This is absurb….the COVID stuff has completely gone overboard. This isn’t Ebola folks…this is a freaking bad flu.

  7. Diapers are the least of their concerns I’m sure. For international flights, Chinese flight attendants have to quarantine 14 days after EVERY flight. And they’re required to wear full PPE during the flight.

  8. @Quo Vadis – All airplane lavs can be locked (and unlocked) from the outside… One just has to know how.

  9. @Quo Vadis
    As pointed out above, all airline lavs can be locked from the outside (only by crew).
    You will notice than on descent and the seatbelt signs are on, the lavs are all unavailable; ie locked, so “please return to your seat for landing ma’am!” Guess she shoulda pack a diaper after all…

  10. It is indeed quite funny for flight attendant to wear diapers. But maybe it’s not such a huge surprised for me cuz I’ve read and heard all sort of similar situation on the news. For example back in March when a wave of people (departing from US & Europe) returning to China, HK and Taiwan… many of the passengers covered themselves with PPE and wore diapers to prevent themselves from using the lavatory. I’ve also read that some of the passengers from Taiwan even avoid inflight meals completely for 10+ hours. In fact, back in March, the Taiwan CDC director was on the news suggesting Taiwanese people to avoid taking flight as much as possible and if they must take a flight, to wear masks, bring hand sanitizer, try to avoid lavatory and maybe wear diapers to lower the risk from getting infected.

  11. This is insane. I’m grateful be in a position where I could relocate a country which accepts Covid as the new reality and lets people have fairly normal lifes with minimal restrictions. Yes, avoiding socialising with people outside my household is tough on mental health, but it’s so much better than this madness around the world. The saddest part is that people now think this is normal and it has to be that way (while my day to day life for the last two months proves that it doesn’t).

  12. @Samo this is only insane to you. Everyone in China is watching the news from overseas like watching a disaster film. Domestically life is pretty much normal. Everything is open. There’s almost no cases. And even the “outbreaks” are orders of magnitude less than the numbers elsewhere. People don’t really wear masks anymore except on public transportation. I’m pretty sure everyone in China wants to keep things this way, having seen what’s going on overseas.

    I can’t speak for flight attendants. But I’m guessing if the choice is between wearing diapers or getting sick, I think they’ll wear the diaper. They already wear full body gear anyway and people in China are deathly afraid of the virus.

  13. John — yes , it was chaotic. what you have been watching, caused by 2 people get infected by oversee returnees. Just give you a perspective on what level of control we are talking about.

  14. China training for Moon mission. Apollo astronauts and Shuttle astronauts all wore diapers. Heck the crazy lady astronaut driving 18 hrs nonstop to catch her boyfriend astronaut cheating with another lady astronaut also wore diapers so she wouldnt have to stop for toilet breaks. Best use of Astronaut training.
    After this pandemic is over China will have a large corps of diaper trained flight attendants and pilots to choose from for their space missions and moon missions. Where is the old spirit of Nasa? Nowadyas they want toilets even on the Crew Dragon for an 18 hr mission!!!!. Just hold it or wear diapers!!!

  15. Guys
    I personally think that giving them the choice is a benefit during the pandemic. I actually choose to wear diapers on long haul flights more hygienic and because a lot of the time when seat belt signs are on you can’t use the toilets and when you gotta go you gotta go!! Obviously I will change when needed

  16. Look, the headline is indeed over the top but interesting that so many commenters feel the need to question and be sceptical about the success of China to control Covid yet have no such attacks ready to go for places like New Zealand and Australia which have done the same thing.

    Are diapers really necessary? No. But the reality is, far too many Americans have spent the better part of the last year complaining about freedom and whining about how “sick and tired” they are of Covid when in reality they’ve done virtually nothing in comparison to what we’ve done in places like China, Australia and New Zealand to beat this thing. (And beating it doesn’t mean make it go away forever; it means stopping local transmission and then immediately stamping it out when it comes back, and that’s finally what we’ve done… though we certainly took our sweet time in Melbourne.)

    The irony: we now enjoy all of the freedom and normality in places like here in Australia that American “patriots” are screaming about not having, all because they simply refuse to do the work necessary to earn them. Freedom isn’t free, remember?

    And I say that as an American living in Australia.

    Get it together, folks.

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