Qatar Airways Crews To Wear Full Body PPE

Filed Under: Qatar

Qatar Airways has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, and is significantly ramping up flights in the coming weeks, as the airline plans to fly to 80 destinations by the end of June 2020.

The airline has now provided some updates regarding what passengers should expect onboard flights, and separately Hamad International Airport has also shared details about changes being made in Doha.

Qatar Airways crews will wear full PPE

Qatar Airways will be introducing full personal protective equipment (PPE) suits for cabin crew while onboard. This will include a full suit over the uniform, in addition to safety goggles, gloves, and a mask, to provide customers with more reassurance.

Qatar Airways crews have already worn this equipment in recent weeks, but I think it’s interesting to note that this will continue even as service ramps up, as Qatar Airways attempts to provide a return to normal as much as possible.

The airline isn’t the first to introduce full body suits, though for many other airlines these suits were introduced specifically on repatriation flights.

Qatar Airways crews will be wearing full body PPE

Qatar Airways passengers will have to wear masks

As of Monday, May 25, 2020, Qatar Airways will require all passengers to wear face coverings inflight, and recommends passengers bring their own for fit and comfort purposes.

I’m surprised it took the airline so long to introduce this, since most other airlines have been requiring this for a while.

At least Qsuites have doors, for some added privacy and separation

Qatar Airways modifying service

Qatar Airways will also be modifying service onboard in order to limit interactions between passengers and crews inflight:

  • Business class meals will be served on a tray instead of on a table setup, and a cutlery wrap will be offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service
  • Economy class meals and cutlery will be served sealed, as usual
  • Large bottles of hand sanitizer will be placed in the galleys and made available for both cabin crew and passengers
  • All social areas onboard aircraft have been closed to observe social distancing measures (which is a bit odd, because it’s not like there’s social distancing at seats)

Expect a watered down meal service

Flying won’t be particularly fun for a while

As most of you are probably aware, Qatar Airways had an incredible opportunity to score a deal on a Qsuites ticket to many places in the world by taking advantage of their 5,000 mile change policy.

I didn’t take advantage of this for a variety of reasons, and I think this announcement further reinforces that:

  • We don’t know when borders will open again, and that could even change several times
  • I’m still going back and forth on if & when it’ll be responsible to travel again
  • Even flying in premium cabins, it’s not going to be particularly fun to travel, between the crews being in full-body suits, having to wear face masks, highly restricted food & drink service, etc.

The point is, if I do any flying this year it’s going to be because I want to or need to go somewhere, and not because I want to maximize my time on a plane.

While I’ll certainly try to make my flying as comfortable as possible, I’m still not expecting it to be “fun.” Yes, this is quite a departure from the past, where maximizing time in Qsuites was something we sought out. Now I’d rather pop open a bottle of champagne at home, and put a ramekin of nuts in the microwave.

Hopefully the time will come again where flying is fun…

Even in Qsuites I don’t think flying will be very fun

Bottom line

Qatar Airways is introducing some reasonable precautions as the airline ramps up operations, and I’d expect similar policies from other airlines. Expect mandatory face masks for passengers, full PPE for crews, and greatly reduced service.

  1. Exactly why I did not take advantage of the 5000 mile offer. I very want to fly, like a lot. But, I want to fly the way it was in 2019. Not the way it is today. Since I love to fly, I don’t want to fly in circumstances where it is not fun. And this will not be fun. Also, to be honest, I think flying is too high risk relative to the reward. The flight won’t be fun. The destination won’t be fun. It’s just not worth it the money and the risk.

  2. Even if you dont believe the virus is real or you are inmune to it, why would someone want to travel with FA looking like this, service been greatly reduced, possibility of getting stuck in another country… etc etc

  3. I’m not certain that being served by someone in a hazmat suit is reassuring, although some people might feel differently.

  4. @Ben
    When are you surprised it took them this long when US airlines carry more pax and dont have their crew wear this?

  5. QR are actually a bit late in implementing these precautions. Their peers have been making masks (and even gloves) mandatory for passengers for a few weeks now, and the list of airlines making this a requirement is growing fast.

    AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, Korean Air, Emirates, Thai and others have been wearing PPEs in various forms and shapes since end of April. Some are chic, some not…

  6. It will be like being a patient on a COVID ward, the crew acting as nurses and the passengers the patients, no thanks.

  7. Hopefully people will realize how broken the USA is when other countries airlines can wear full body PPE and yet some (most) medical facilities here can’t get enough equipment. Lots of good people out there busting their butts trying to do the right thing but leadership has failed them.

  8. Any news of opening the airport for arrival? Of course flying in these conditions are going to be horrible, but some of us want to go to spouses there. And especially if you are in 27th weeks of pregnancy, I wouldn’t mind wearing the same thing just to reach

  9. Qatar has now more infections per capita than any country in the world (except for the Vatican and San Marino). Pretty sure I wouldn’t want to transfer through Doha even with the greatest precautions taken by Qatar Airways.

  10. Thanks guys – all the more space for the rest of us who already had CV19 and are over the immunity threshold blood antibody count 😉

  11. Welcome to the world gone crazy. All of this doesn’t make any sense. Please stop spreading fear (i don’t mean you personally Ben! 😉 Let’s just try to practice common sense and start travelling in normal way again. You will see everything will be fine and we all will feel happy again.

  12. @eric
    and when you catch the virus by flying can you please please refuse to go to the hospital so that someone else’s grandparent can use the bed?
    I know the US love their god given right of freedom…but that “freedom” often comes at a cost to someone else

  13. I’ll wait to fly J/F when this nightmare ends and it pays to fly J/F. Not now. By the way, transiting Doha airport one would do well to keep up on Qatar’s infection rate and keep in mind that Doha, like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and airports in Saudi Arabia are busy transit hubs for South Asian migrant workers. India is still an uknown as regards COVID-19 infections/deaths. Suffice it to say though that the aforementioned countries are aware of this and do have restrictions on arrivals, quarantine etc.

    But all the worlds big airports face the same problem. I think the likelyhood of contracting COVID-19 is within the airport terminals/facilities/gate areas, not so much as onboard the aircraft itself.

    That said, the unknowns and restricted service will keep many, including me, from joining the ‘fun’ in the skies. It’s now just a big hassle and bummer. As Lucky said, right now flying is about necessity of getting from A to B and not for the pleasure, because right now there isn’t any.

    After 9/11 airline cabin staff were elevated by the USG to de facto heavenly prison guards, now with COVID they seem on the way to becoming ‘healthcare workers/experts’ sans a medical degree; they are now doctors too with the power of deputized sheriffs, all by government decree. Enjoy the NWO the elites have matrixed for you. Most will submit, obey and worship this new paradigm. Most humans are followers, not leaders.

  14. Jay H your spot on, I am not sure I would want to be transiting airports in that region for awhile, I have had enough scares already, having had several flights pull away from the gate only to turn back due to a sick passenger (s). One flight on EK had to go back three times , and even then when we got to SFO Hazmat etc came on the plane for an hour. NOPE !

  15. How do they expect anyone will be wearing a mask all the time on a long haul flight? I have been wearing N95 mask to go to a grocery store and within 15 minutes of having it on I am already having a difficult time breathing since it is a heavy mask. Also, do they expect the crew to never take that PPE off in a long flight? How do they go to the restroom? If they get virus on the PPE or mask they have to perform appropriate way to discard and clean it before removing the PPE and mask. I doubt they will be able to do that for so many hours. It may do more harm than good.

  16. @Santastico. You are correct. When I go out to the store I wear a surgical mask, which is easier to breath, but realistically probably doesn’t do much to prevent inhaling microscopic COVID particulates.

    I also wear disposable exam gloves which really sweat my hands. Those PPE suits will have the crew sweating like in a sauna after an hour or two. Very un-hygenic in and of itself. And then there is the disposal of all of that PPE.

    In the medical field it’s called doffing. Medical personal learn in school how to properly put on and take off PPE so as not to touch the contaminated outside PPE. Then it must be put into a container/plastic sealed bag. Very cumbersome procedures. Where are they going to do this on a 737? Again, don’t fly until this entire episode has been resolved. Not worth it.

    I read articles of late about the unimaginable amounts of discarded PPE filling landfills around the world or just littered on the ground. A nightmare. Imagine going on vacation to beaches, parks or simply walking in towns and cities and seeing such rubbish, potentially contaminated.

  17. According to John Hopkins chart, US ,Russia, UK and Brazil (all Trump’s allies and science deniers) have the highest confirmed cases, in numerical order, in the world.
    We should indefinitely bury the ” safe travel” topic for two reasons. First, the AMA appealed to the public to vote in a new government to contain and treat the COVID-19. In another word, a regime change in the country. Secondly, the Fed Reserve Chairman declared that the public will not feel confident and safe until a vaccine is available. I would add accessible and affordable or free. We should also put to rest if the world will ever find a vaccine. Witnessing and experiencing how the virus is ravaging and destroying the modern world as we know, the stature and financial rewards of finding the vaccine of the century will be highly competitive. It is not a vaccine if it does not treat the virus. We will not eradicate a virus when it jumps from animal to human to human transmission. AMA and Powell are the two top experts in respective fields of medicine and economics that nobody else can dispute and undermine.

  18. NO. A thousand times NO.

    Why would ANYONE elect to fly under these conditions, unless the trip was absolutely necessary?

    Though I’ve traveled extensively for 48 years – aboard more than 125 airlines – I would stay home the rest of my life before I’d put myself though this.

  19. full body PPE is hot as fluck. Some of these flight attendants in full PPE will be coming down with heat stress for sure. At the very least they will smell really bad after a full day in there. Maybe they can turn the cabin temp down a few degrees to help them out!

  20. No one is going to want to go flying anywhere if the crew look like they are there do do autopsies rather than cabin service. Airlines that think that passengers are just infected cattle deserve to go bust and vanish.

  21. 48 years and 9.7MM AA miles of doing this and like Super VC 10, there is no way in creation that i am going to get on an international flight with a mask…or a domestic flying bus for that matter…

    What I can’t understand is why, until today, QR has promoted how safe their planes are (correctly so) and now they cave into the optics of masses…

    The collective stupidity of the airlines is unreal and is going to cost them their business and first class customers – especially since everyone’s status is frozen

    The first carrier to return to a semblance of “normal” will be the winner…

  22. If you feel uncomfortable flying with crews with full PPE thus choose not to fly — fantastic! After all the government advisories and expert warnings we finally find a way to actually eliminate non-essential flyings.

  23. I’m not sure if there is an engineer or a specialists reading this, but I was under the impression that airplane cabins do have a vertical airflow, from floor to ceiling. If so, would this not make the spread of a virus very unlikely, especially with everyone wearing masks?

  24. I find the full PPE to be very confronting on an aircraft, as it seems to imply that the passenger is the infected party and the OTT gear is to protect the FA. While this madness persists, I suggest you mentally turn the tables, for your own sanity, and think of the wearer as the infected one (probably aren’t in reality) who is protecting you.
    The dire situation in Doha, and DOH, being a major transit airport in addition to an originating one, for countless thousands of SE Asians and Indian sub-continental workers, has made DOH a risky place to even transit.

  25. Meanwhile Qantas have today announced their “Fly Well” Programme – no mention of staff wearing PPE. I am just hoping that means that they are planning for domestic travel to resume soon….

  26. @Odis what a dumb statement. Meanwhile the world over clamours to get to the U.S. and enjoy inalienable rights. No, it’s not at the costs of others.

    Travel will return eventually as will normal life. No one knows how long so speculation is futile. But one thing is for sure, if I dropped $5k USD to fly I and was confronted by these medical disaster suits then I would rather serve myself from the galley. The crew can setup galley, heat the meals, pop a champagne cork and then go to their bunks, LOL.

  27. @globetrotter
    “ According to John Hopkins chart”

    If you can’t even get right the name of one of the world’s most famous universities, I’m not sure I trust your conclusions about safety in a pandemic.

    Almost all my international travel is for work, paid for by my employer. I’ve never bought into the idea that flying is a glamorous activity: it’s hours and hours of drudge, where the best I can hope for is: consistency, reliability and, if I choose carefully, a quiet lounge to wait in and then on the plane a private seat in business class (yes, I’m one of those freaks who loves seats with doors).

    So I don’t care very much if the F/As look like first responders to a chemical spill. Nor do I care if “live tv” is removed from the ICE, or various other fripperies are cancelled.

    I do care very much about the security and, now, healthcare theatre at airports. For many years I’ve actively avoided transit through the US, because their immigration and security theatre has become so overbearing. Countries who get that right get more of my business (eg, I’ve found immigration/security to be brilliant in Chile, and health screening brilliant in Taiwan. YMMV. I’d happily transit through both).

    So, as someone who can direct business-class cash to airlines, this kind of stuff doesn’t put me off.

    Though I can see how people spending points for a luxurious trip — where the journey *is* the purpose — might feel differently. I’m just not sure most airlines right now view you as the priority group to attract back on board.

  28. “Watered down service” in biz class
    Close to 11 K to fly one way to Europe from Australia,from 6K.
    No thank you

  29. @odis Some of us try to look at the facts and navigate all the misinformation out there. I’m not from the US but you’re right I value my freedom.

    @Tim thank you

  30. Ben, do you know if alcohol is available on Qatar business class flights? I’ve been stuck in Australia since March and I am able to get back to UK in June. I usually like to have a few drinks to relax into the journey. I don’t care how the food comes, I don’t care about having to wear a mask and I don’t care about staff in full PPE.

  31. @JayH… you are correct. Specially re. the correct medical protocol for doffing the PPEs.
    This QR ( full haz mat suits etc) that al- Bakar has come out with for all cabin crew is pure SHOW and PR stuff. As in ” look at us, we go further than any other airline to make you safe.” Typical al-Bakar dog and pony show. Traveler beware. There is no real safe , medically speaking, conditions for a passenger count of more then 35 inside the fuselage of any aircraft ( except an A380). Exception to this is if every pax wears a full Bio Haz Mat suit level 4 and NEVER removes any part of the suit during the time in the fuselage. No sneaking a quick sip of water no toilet usage. There QR, that is the way to do it. Got it now Mr. al-Bakar ?

  32. If you think flying is getting bad…

    “Qatar to close shops and stop all commercial activities till May 30; restricts number of people in a car”
    Published May 18, 2020

    Read the first two lines of their new restrictions:

    1 – All citizens and residents are obligated to install the EHTERAZ app on smartphones when leaving the house for any reason.
    2- This decision is effective from Friday 22/5/2020 until further notice.

    In other words, enforced tracking of citizens and residents, coming soon to a country near you…

  33. I mean, read the room Mr. Baker. Decking out cabin crew in hazmat suits doesn’t convey a commitment to passenger safety; it suggests that flying in the time of COVID is not safe at all (which is demonstrably untrue).

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