PAL now requires face masks on all flights

Aviation Updates Philippines – To aid in the prevention of COVID-19 transmission in its operations, Philippine Airlines will now step-up its health and safety precautions in the days to come. The airline will be observing physical distancing, the mandatory wearing of face masks for staff and passengers, and so forth.
FACE MASKS NOW REQUIRED. To protect its passengers, PAL will now require its staff and passengers to wear face masks on all flights. Similarly, AirAsia adopted this measure this week. Photo from Cielo Villaluna, Philippine Airlines
As the first line of defense against COVID-19, the national flag carrier said it will install thermal scanners at its ticketing offices. PAL will also enforce "managed" physical distancing while at the same time requiring its staff and all visitors to wear face masks. There will also be transparent barriers installed at the counters to guarantee protection for its staff and guests

Before arriving for flights, PAL reminded its passengers to wear face masks which it will now require for all of its future flights. The airline will allow surgical, ear-loop, or do-it-yourself masks, except when flying to or from cities that strictly require surgical masks.

Meanwhile, passengers may bring hand sanitizers (maximum 70 percent alcohol content) for their protection; however, these are only limited to up to 10 pieces not exceeding 100 mL each container. Sanitizers (for general use) will be placed by the airline at its check-in desks.

PAL encourages the use of its online check-in system to further limit contact inside the terminal. For those departing for international flights from Manila, it is highly recommended to be at the airport four hours before departure. Meanwhile, those departing for domestic flights from Manila are encouraged to arrive three hours prior.

For the Mabuhay Lounge, PAL will install a sanitizing floor mat for passengers and staff before entering the lounge. Physical distancing will be strictly observed, and the staff will be wearing protective gear.

When boarding the aircraft, there will also be sanitizing floor mats available at key airports. Distancing will also be observed at shuttle buses and airport pre-departure areas. On-board, the crew will be wearing full protective suits who will then serve a more simplified meal service. There will also be options for "social distancing cabin seating", which the carrier did not elaborate.

Upon arrival, health forms and other documents, which are required to be filled out, will be handed out to all passengers. Baggage pushcarts will be periodically disinfected. These rules will be intensified by designated roaming staff to monitor compliance with these health procedures.

According to the most recent guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for the aviation sector, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) are mandated to install tighter health protocols, encompassing the installation of rapid testing facilities and temperature screenings, at key airports.

PAL continues to calibrate its health protocols given the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. Last month, the airline unveiled its Edwin Tan-designed personal protective suits incorporating the signature PAL brand. PAL used these suits for its repatriation flights and, soon, in its regular domestic and international operations.

The gradual resumption of flights is expected to commence on May 16, 2020, subject to the approval of the Philippine health authorities.