Cathay Pacific will exempt First and Business class passengers from wearing face masks while sleeping, according to updated guidelines shared with cabin crew.
Cathay Pacific said the new internal memo is “designed to help our crew understand the circumstances under which mask wearing is exempted”.
While passengers are still required to wear face masks throughout the flight, with the exception of eating and drinking, travellers in premium cabins will additionally be exempted while sleeping.
“Seats in first and business class are more spacious with partitions, and passengers are exempted when lying flat for sleep. Our aircraft are equipped with HEPA filtration systems that are capable of filtering 99.999 per cent of dust particles and airborne contaminants such as viruses and bacteria, ensuring the highest possible cabin air quality.”said a spokesperson from Cathay Pacific to Business Traveller.
This decision, however, has raised concerns among the airline’s employees.
According to The Standard, Cheung Shu-wang, chairman at the Staffs and Workers Union of Hong Kong Civil Airlines, said, “Under this instruction, many crew members are worried about [becoming infected with] Covid-19 after close contact with passengers.”
It also follows a recent study which hints at COVID-19 transmissions between passengers and cabin crew during a Boston to Hong Kong flight last March, reported The New York Times.
Qatar Airways last summer said that business class travellers would be able to wear personal protective equipment “at their own discretion”. Economy passengers, on the contrary, must continue to wear face shields and masks, except when served meals or drinks.
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