Qatar Airways Makes Face Shields Mandatory (In Addition To Face Masks)

Filed Under: Qatar

Qatar Airways is currently one of the largest airlines in the world, as the airline has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, and has expanded its route network significantly in recent weeks.

While the Doha-based airline already had safety protocols in place, some changes have been announced, including additional measures for passengers, and new uniforms for cabin crew. Let’s take a look at the details.

Qatar Airways passengers now have to wear face shields

Up until now, Qatar Airways passengers have had to wear face masks, but that requirement is being expanded. Qatar Airways passengers now have to wear face shields, in addition to face masks:

  • The disposable face shields will be handed out at boarding gates, and for those originating in Doha, they’ll be handed out at check-in
  • The face shields will come in two standard sizes — one for adults, and one for kids

Qatar Airways’ new face shields

What’s interesting is the requirements around wearing the face shields:

  • Economy class passengers are required to wear face shields in addition to face masks throughout the flight, except when they are served meals or drinks
  • Business class passengers are asked to wear face shields and face masks onboard at their own discretion, “as they enjoy more space and privacy”
  • Children under two years of page are advised not to wear face shields and face masks
  • During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers will be required to wear face masks and face shields

I’m a bit surprised by the lack of requirements for business class passengers. I can sort of rationalize that if we’re talking about Qsuites, where there’s a door.

Qatar Airways’ A350 Qsuites

But Qatar Airways also has many planes where seats are closer to one another, and don’t offer any sort of privacy.

Qatar Airways’ A330 business class

Are those passengers really not required to wear face masks or face shields?!

Qatar Airways will offer protective kits

In addition to the new face shield requirement, all passengers will be provided with a protective kit, which includes:

  • A single-use surgical face masks
  • Large disposable powder-free gloves
  • An alcohol-based hand sanitizer (business class passengers will get an additional 75ml gel tube of hand sanitizer)

Qatar Airways’ new protective kit

Qatar Airways flight attendants get new PPE

Qatar Airways is introducing new disposable protective gowns for all cabin crew that are fitted over uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves, and a mask. The new gowns feature Qatar Airways’ logo.

When the pandemic started, Qatar Airways crews were in full body suits. Given how image-focused the airline is, I’m surprised they did that.

Qatar Airways’ old flight attendant uniform

The new uniforms look much better, in my opinion.

Qatar Airways’ new flight attendant uniform

One thing that surprises me is that passengers have to wear face shields, while cabin crew “only” have to wear glasses.

Bottom line

Qatar Airways will become one of the first major airlines to require all passengers to wear both face masks and face shields. Interestingly this is optional in business class, even on planes without Qsuites.

On top of that, all passengers will receive protective kits, and cabin crew will also be getting slightly more normal-looking PPE (without face shields).

What do you make of these changes at Qatar Airways?

  1. Why am I going to fly if I feel like I’m in the infectious disease unit of the hospital? If flying feels unsafe people won’t do it. This doesn’t make me feel like flying is safe.

  2. I have a QR flight booked for November and this sounds like an absolutely uncomfortable way to spend a ~14 hour flight. Crossing my fingers for a cancellation so I can get a cash refund instead of their voucher.

  3. Thank you QR! Taking action and doing the right thing when it comes to safety. Now lets just hope people aren’t entitled a-holes like in the US and break the rules or cause scenes.

  4. What next…passengers have to wear full bio chemical suits with respirators, no thanks

  5. “Why am I going to fly if I feel like I’m in the infectious disease unit of the hospital?”

    Exactly! I’ve said the same thing about returning to the office too.

  6. Qatar Airways’ logic be like

    Corona : Oh no. I can’t attack you now. You’ve paid 3000bucks and you are a premium passenger. Okay folks, let’s attack him some other day, now let’s head back to the coach.


    Corona : hahahaha, it’s time to attack him
    Guy : I am a Business Class passenger.
    Corona : Understandable, have a nice day!

  7. Business class passengers do not have to wear both — but do they have to wear one or the other?

  8. This is so stupid! Ok so kids under 2 don’t have to wear it, but what about kids that are 2 or 3?? Good luck getting them to wear it. Thanks I’ll avoid that and if I need to travel, will be looking for airlines that don’t have such ridiculous requirements.

  9. @Ben
    New hazmat uniorms are cut&paste of those of EK, EY and Flydubai.. bet the crews will be really happy, those hazmat suit must be a nightmare, especially on longhail flights.

    Do not understand the logic for business class, but maybe they do not want to scare away potential premium customers. However, the virus knows no borders between Y, J and F..

  10. Those doors are not going to protect you from getting infected. You can’t pay off coronavirus.

  11. “Qatar Airways is currently one of the largest airlines in the world, as the airline has continued to operate throughout the pandemic ”

    The above should read as “Qatar Airways is currently one of the largest airlines in the world to operate throughout the pandemic”.

    “as the airline has continued” does in no way change their status in terms of others who have stopped flying. A bit ridiculous. But then you so love to promote Qatar Airways in any shape or form 🙂

  12. Have several flights with QA booked, but all in business. Definitely will not be wearing the discretionary face shield. Mask will depend on the situation – not within QSuite. Probably yes otherwise (unless nearest person is 3-4 meters away)

  13. I can understand that everyone is annoyed that a airline is mandating face shields, but, they are doing this for our safety.
    I think we, collectively as a society, have forgotten that this virus, this disease, has an incubation period of 14 days, and, during these 14 days we are carriers of the disease and spreading it to others we get in contact with. No amount of temperature readings can definitively tell me if someone has the virus or not.
    EVERY medical expert says that these things PREVENT the transmission of disease.
    Nothing in this life is certain, except for death/taxes. By wearing a shield that may cause me dis-comfort for some time (in the perspective of my whole life) but guarantees that I arrive to my destination, disease-ftee, hell yeah. Gimme two of them!
    If the idea of wearing a mask and shield is cumbersome for my fellow readers go travel to Florida and take a dip in the ocean, surrounded by fellow, like minded, disease-spreading, individuals. Celebrating “their freedom”.

  14. Ridiculous! Just as ridiculous as Qatar’s 14 day quarantine at residents expense. Remind me again; what is the Ehteraz App supposedly used for.

  15. It’s astounding to me that ANYONE would put-up with this, unless a trip somewhere was absolutely necessary. (Like rushing to the side of a dying parent.)

    As much as I love to travel, and even though I own a house overseas that I may not see for a very long time, I will stay off planes – for YEARS if necessary. No way am I flying with cabin crews who look ready to perform brain surgery.

    Honestly, If getting on a plane is this risky, I’ll stay on the ground.

  16. @Super VC10

    Everywhere is that risky. People are not taking appropriate precautions and that is why we are up to 50,000 new cases a day in the United States. With all these precautions in place, it might be relatively safe to fly. The experience will be subpar, but if I have to travel, I would prefer to do it on an airline that is requiring these mandatory precautions.

  17. My husband is traveling soon to Doha and I am relieved to hear about these safety protocols being implemented by Qatar Airways. We all need to adjust our behavior and routines in order to survive this pandemic. We can be responsible to ourselves and to our fellow flyers by making these adjustments, especially for long-haul flights. Fourteen hours with a face shield is not that onerous.

  18. “If getting on a plane is this risky, I’ll stay on the ground.”

    A good, rational conclusion.

    Yes, Qatar’s whole PPE obsession seems surprising. But it should tell you something:

    The virus is all around us, and it’s going to be all around us for a long time. Lesser measures are not cutting it.

    The number of cases are exploding – even in places that had taken strict and painful measures. It’s not just in red states with drunken Trumpist idiots licking each other in bars. We now risk going back to “shelter in place” lockdowns because people are too stupid to do the simple, common-sense things necessary. The results are starting to look like New York in April – from coast to coast.

    Nobody should be flying unless it’s absolutely necessary – period. Yes, it sucks. It’s gonna suck more and be like that as long as people can’t be bothered to be disciplined. Yes, a facemask is awkward and uncomfortable – but not as awkward and uncomfortable as being on a ventilator.

    Alas, I fear we will be stuck in “Phase 1” and stuck at home for another 2 years because the denialists can’t be bothered to do the responsible things necessary.

  19. I understand next step will be full PPE and milion tests before and after the flight. No, thank you. I understand airlines are desperate to fly but most people aren’t, I guess. It looks until vaccine is available – essential trips only should be allowed.

  20. Good for Qatar.

    Too bad we live here in the third world where rapid testing is not available.

  21. Agree with Andrew C. No problem to wear a face shield for my own and other traveller safety if need to fly. Would choose Qatar over any other airline with lesser requirement. And they still decently feed business class travellers.

  22. Well done QR sensible thing to do. AA will instead have the most idiotic policy. If travel can be safe we can all start traveling again

  23. AA will instead have the most idiotic policy. If travel can be safe we can all start traveling again. Well done QR sensible thing to do.

  24. No head-in-the-sand here; I will only travel QR if they fly my itinerary. Well done throughout the entire pandemic.

    I’m pretty sure they test their personnel regularly, but passengers aren’t tested so understand why face shield not required on personnel.

  25. Safety measures initiatives taken by Qatar airways are highly appreciated.
    Thanks to Qatar airways taking care of their customers.
    This is the reason I always travel with Qatar airways.
    I have already booked my seat last week of july.

  26. People complaining about this are so unbelievably stupid it defies belief.

    If you do have to travel, some crazy looking gear may just keep you safe. And if you don’t like the fashion… then don’t fly or charter your own jet… definitely stop whining!

    Or maybe it will be natural selection in action when you fly with another airline that doesn’t make you wear all this nasty, restrictive horrible protective gear. What a bunch of idiotic moaners!

    And well done to QR.

  27. I want to fly! I want a holiday! I will not fly on AC unless in a wide-body J,

    Please, pretty please, convince the Government to let Qatar fly to YVR!

    What a reasonable approach from QATAR. Cloth masks are useless adornments – the shields will actually provide protection. Shields cannot easily be compromised by people who do not know that touching the mask at any time compromises the protection and spreads the virus through your hands now that they are in contact with potentially harmful water droplets.

  28. This is just the start, things will evolve.
    Watch and see how Qatar changes and tweeks onboard safety.

    Most of this is theatre but it makes sense as there is no social distancing.

    What I want to know is what will they do if a passenger refuses to wear it once in flight?

  29. No American has any right to comment on how any country or company chooses to enforce PPE/contact precautions. You guys are a disgrace to the world.

  30. I get the mask requirement. I do not like government mandating it and I feel ridiculous wearing it but I do. It’s considerate of others and may provide a degree of protection for me. But a face shield? I have yet to hear any credible disease expert tell the general public we should be wearing face shields.

    Does that provide any protection to others or just ourselves? If not to ourselves, I’m ok with those who choose to act or not act bear the consequences of those actions so long as others do not. Furthermore, I agree with those that say this sounds very uncomfortable for a long haul flight. I don’t intend to fly anytime soon, but it won’t be QR with these rule should I change my mind.

  31. @Australia Wins

    Spot on Mate!


    Your logic is unfortunately completely backwards. Homemade masks or anything less than N95 are totally useless (unless you are spraying like a hose) and will be improperly used anyway. They are uncomfortable to wear and are useless after a few hours. At best they only protect others if you are contagious.

    A face mask prevents direct transmission in both directions. No matter how small the micron size of the virus it cannot pass the shield. It might go around but that is true of ALL non-medical grade masks worn and fitted properly. Also, they can be worn for a very long time and can be cleaned at will, not replaced.

    Think Shield – forget mask.

  32. I am really quite amused by some of the reactions. I cannot believe that some of us have already started thinking that it has become safe to fly. Of course it is not. People who have started flying are doing that because it is not for pleasure, but for something very urgent and unavoidable. In fact, in most parts of the world, it is still not safe to go to a restaurant or to a bar right now, without protection. Responsible people who know this are taking this protection.
    I would say, I am very happy that Qatar is taking this protection, thinking about the safety of the passengers and supplying the face masks and the face shields free of cost.
    In Business Class, there is certainly more space. So, if a passenger wants to be safe, he or she can still wear the mask and the face shield and stay safe.
    I think the Qatar airline policy is quite justifiable.
    At the same time, people who feel punished to travel in that way, have the choice to travel any other airline which does not impose these restrictions.
    Can’t we see how people in some parts of the world, people have started to think that the pandemic is over and have started to crowd the beaches and how quickly the infection rate has started to increase in these areas? We need a little patience folks. Let the vaccine be made available and slowly but steadily things will hopefully inch back to a near normal. Till then, please, let us try to be safe, or at least allow the people who try to be safe, do things what they think is good.

  33. It will be air hunger through out the flight, people find it hard to breathe wearing a face mask and on top of that an other shield would be really suffocating.
    Better to provide oxygen masks as well,
    or use only the face shields and not the masks.

  34. I will stay away of them. At least our European airlines do not enforce this stupid mask requirement and Swiss does not even require them. If you are afraid of virus, then stay home. It is as simple as that. Let us live our lives….

  35. Hey Qatar THANK YOU for destroying flying. The full body suits were already ridiculous and I see they now changed to well somewhat more normal wear? Btw WHY are you even thinking of demanding your employees to wear this. Demanding to wear face mask and face shield is not helping. Please try to be as normal as possible so demand can increase and we can start flying the nice premium cabins again.

    Qatar: Nice business seats, check. Hospital wear required, check. Don’t want my money, CHECK

  36. The new security theatre.

    For those of you accepting this blindly as “necessary for the greater good” go look at the research. Go look at the numbers. This is an overreaction.

  37. Single-use disposable everything – most definitely environmentally friendly, planet Earth needs more of this stuff, please.

  38. @ Lucky
    “One thing that surprises me is that passengers have to wear face shields, while cabin crew “only” have to wear glasses.”

    If the pictures are an accurate representation of the crew equipment, they are wearing eye protection equivalent to safety goggles, not simply “glasses”. Eye PPE extends the barrier around the side and downward to the cheek. In Operating Rooms, eye protection is required as a part of universal precautions against anticipated spray of blood born and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) – a slightly different feature than the impact protection from safety goggles. This offers protection to the mucosa of the eye from the bigger droplets & spray but, since they don’t filter, will not protect against aerosolized micron particles.
    Absent this information, heated discussions will occur when folks refuse to wear a shield because they are wearing standard eyeglasses. Been there and I don’t envy the FAs job of enforcement.

  39. And for those posters that describe cumbersome flight requirements to “doing surgery” or an “infection control unit”, you’re not even close. Here’s a true comparison of current practices in healthcare.
    For non-elective procedures:
    “We’re treating every patient as if they were covid-19 positive so we-all surgery team members- are practicing air-borne transmission precautions (n95 mask with a surgical mask worn over that and a full face shield or CAPR system and a protective gown and gloves) throughout the surgery to include no one entering the OR for at least 21 minutes after the patient leaves the OR.“

    In addition, most facilities are now testing elective surgical patients prior to procedure with a hard stop if they test positive.

    There is a rationale that relates to each aspect of the protocol and it’s not based on emotion or personal rights. In healthcare, unwavering compliance is required for a patient to “take flight”.

  40. Wearing headshields in the flight will make traveling safer. My flight was cancelled on 22.6.20 and have requested for Travel Voucher.I hope I’ll get it soon so that I can book and travelby Qatar Airways soon.

  41. “…n95 mask with a surgical mask worn over that…”

    I assume they mean an N95 with an exhaust valve? That is dangerous. These masks were never designed to be worn under a surgical mask. I’d rather go for an N95 or if need be for an N99 without valve if the procedure does not involve major physical activity.

  42. God, I hate to flya 24h flight with them. I wear thick glasses or I can’t see a thing, I already know glasses won’t fit there, it’s going to be extremely uncomfortable.
    I would have never booked if I had known before.

  43. They expect me to wear a mask and a shield for 17 hours on my Philippines/UK flight.Sorry I didn’t take the refund now.
    Good luck to sleeping in that setup.
    Expect a passenger exodus to Emirates and Etihad.

  44. @florian
    Yes, Hospital personnel were wearing surgical masks over n95s without a valve as I described. Prior to stopping non-urgent procedures (on or about MARCH 13), most hospitals were already consolidating the N95 masks, calculating back orders and approximating usage (Also for surgical gowns, surgical masks, sterile gloves, available anesthesia machines for conversion to ventilators and appropriate decontamination agents for Preop/intraop/postop environments).
    The national recommendation for ceasing non-urgent came about MARCH 20 but we still needed to maintain capabilities to provide care to emergent/urgent patients. Masks were being issued to providers with the reuse recommendation, they were doffed after use and stored in a labeled bag. The surgical mask overtop and face shields collected contaminated particles and was discarded prior to the N95 storage and diminished the risk of transfer when the mask was reused.
    I was dismayed, aggravated and responded to the earlier discussions (May, perhaps?) when people were describing the multiple mask & glove changes that could occur to provide snacks & service while flying ELECTIVELY during the peak of a pandemic. Although I strongly support barrier devices for necessary airline travel, I was irritated when it was suggested that extreme amounts of PPE be used to satisfy a “comfort standard” on flights.
    Even with rapid fire changes that allowed “extended use”, N95 reprocessing, ramped up production and reclassification of industrial respirators, the “mask over mask” and reuse protocols continued for MONTHS to conserve PPE supplies as the greater danger would have been to run out.
    I guess I have a completely different perspective on usage, comfort and necessity…and a low tolerance for elective misuse/waste of PPE.

  45. I personally do feel more secured in this running pandemic panic situation,I shall return Rome on September 2020. I always prefer travelling on Qatar Airways,at this connection I am happy that the authority is much concern of the safety of the general passengers,thank you Qatar Air.

  46. @Goran

    European airlines fly mostly short haul flights and so I understand why they do not demand face masks per se. Since a face mask only protects others then whatever.

    Qatar flies mostly long haul especially since being boycotted by most ME countries. Now we are talking hours and hours of contact rather than an hour or so in Europe.

    Face shields are very reasonable because they protect ME. I will definitely wear one. Not so a mask if I can avoid it. I am coming from a covid-free zone.

  47. @Eleonora
    It was the first I had in mind when I heard about this ridiculous rule: Has anybody of these “safety experts” ever thought about people who have to wear glasses?! Not only will it be very uncomfortable (think about the humidity slowly evolving under the face-shield). It is also a security issue. In case of an emergency there will be several hundred people throwing around these clownish shields.
    Last but not least think about take-off and landing: Under normal circumstances an airline does not want you to wear headsets with wires all around; well – these shields are even worse in that particular moment.
    Eleonora, best you cancel your flight with them. I did the very same just yesterday when I read about these face-shields.

  48. @Farhana,
    They no longer allow overhead carry on luggages. You can only bring a personal size bag or a purse to store underneath the seats in front. They will hand out a plastic bag at the check in counter if you aren’t prepared so that you can sort things out before checking your baggages.

  49. Sorry Qatar, I won’t be flying with you again. I won’t wear a mask/shield for my 14 hour flight, will opt for Cathay Pacific now.

  50. Just two days ago my teenage daughter and I took a 12-hour long-haul flight with Qatar Airways, and we each wore our face mask and face shield.

    Every person has a choice but I and my family choose to make the small sacrifice of wearing PPE for 12 hours in order to be reunited with our loved ones.

    For me, wearing the protective gear is a small price to pay to be able to (1) be with family, (2) see the world, (3) explore exotic locations, (4) make new memories.

    In my opinion there’s a middle ground to dealing with Covid-19, and that middle ground is to adapt.

    For me, adapting by wearing PPE is a small price to pay, and that small price pays big dividends via a life well-lived.

    I want to thank Qatar Airways and their crew for a safe journey.

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