Qantas and Jetstar prepare for return of domestic travel with new COVID-19 measures

Qantas

Qantas Group has today announced a range of strict health measures to prepare for when domestic travel resumes. Both Qantas and Jetstar will be implementing a new “Fly Well” program to ensure a safe travel environment and give travellers peace of mind as state border restrictions after lifted across the country.

This includes masks on board, hand sanitising stations and a sharper focus on aircraft hygiene, as well as more flexibility added to bookings so people are more confident with their travel plans. Measures are temporary and have already been observed on Qantas Group’s repatriation flights.

‘Fly Well’ will begin rolling out from 12th June, with measures taken both before the flight and on-board.

Before passengers even step into the cabin they will have access to comprehensive information about what to expect. While at the airport, they will be encourages to check-in online or via the app and use a self-serve bag drop off. All departure gates will be fixed with hand sanitising stations, while security points will be disinfected regularly.

Inside Qantas Lounges, passengers can expect increased physical distancing practices, hand sanitising stations, enhanced disinfection of surfaces, and adjustments to food and drink service.

Once on board, passengers will be given masks although they won’t be mandatory. Qantas Group will encourage guests to wear them in the interest of everyone’s peace of mind. Once seated, passengers will be asked to limit their movement around the cabin.

While each aircraft is cleaned, focus will be given to high-contact areas like seats, overhead lockers, air vents, toilets and seatbelts. Passengers themselves will be offered cleaning wipes should they want to give anything else a once-over for extra assurance.

Boarding will be “sequenced” to reduce crowding, while service will also be simplified to minimise touchpoints.

“From the early rescue flights we operated right into Wuhan and then more recently bringing Australians back from places like the US and Europe, we have a lot of experience at creating a safe cabin environment for passengers and crew,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. “We’re relying on the cooperation of passengers to help make these changes work for everyone’s benefit, and we thank them in advance for that. Given the great job Australians have done at flattening the curve, we’re confident they’ll respond positively to these temporary changes to how we fly.”

In-line with other airlines, Qantas Group have reiterated the hospital-grade HEPA filters on board each aircraft. These air conditioning systems work to remove 99.9% of all particles, including viruses, while cabin air is refreshed on average every five minutes during the flight.

Curiously, there is little mention as to what Qantas and Jetstar will be doing about social distancing on board. It’s assumed that there will be nothing like leaving middle seats empty as is happening on other airlines around the world.

Booking Your Flights

Qantas and Jetstar will open their respective booking platforms between 21st May and 30th June, for travel between 12th June and 31st October 2020. Anyone who decides to change the date of their travel will have their change fee waived once. Customers will have to cover any fare increases for the new booking.

Customers with any existing international flight booking with Qantas or Jetstar for travel between 1st August and 31st October 2020, who wish to change their plans, can cancel their booking and retain the full value as a flight credit. Flight credits must be requested by 30th June 2020 and are valid for booking and travel across domestic and international services by 31st December 2021. Jetstar credit vouchers allow up to two years to travel from issue date

And this shouldn’t really need to be mentioned, but this writer would like to add that anyone with cold and flu-like symptoms should stay at home, not put others at risk, and be aware of any positivity bias which may put themselves and others at risk. Those who haven’t bought into mind-numbingly stupid and reckless conspiracy theories (especially ones facilitated by ex-model cult-like documentary filmmakers and disgraced, bitter and scornful scientists) should download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app to help out with contact tracing, when the Government sorts out their technical issues. Make your compromises, be pragmatic, be patient, and do your part. Liberty is not an all-or-nothing concept.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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