A Look Back At This Airline That Required Flight Crew To Wear Hazmat Suits During Pandemic

Qatar Airways flight crew

Flying has been chaotic. The number of flight delays over the summer have been record breaking, and with the labor shortage, there’s a lot of flight cancellations, strikes, and even madness at airports. But it’s interesting to think that, compared to how flying was during the pandemic, it’s not that bad. In fact, I wanted to take a look back to show you how this airline required flight crew to wear hazmat suits during the pandemic.

Take a look at this story we published May 27, 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Qatar Airways is taking the pandemic more seriously than others with strict guidelines for its flight crew. As of last week, Qatar Airways now requires flight crew to wear full hazmat suits during the pandemic.

It’s a sign of reassurance for passengers who may feel uncertain about flying.

It’s also a smart move. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, airlines are expected to lose up to $252 billion in revenue this year, and most airlines are in crisis mode. In fact, many US airlines have been misleading the public about their onboard safety protocols since they still need to make a profit, and travelers in the US continue to feel they are not safe.

Qatar Airways flight crew body suit
Flight crew on Qatar Airways. Photo: Qatar Airways.

The fact Qatar Airways, based out of Qatar, requires all flight crew to wear hazmat suits proves the airline is going one step above for its passengers. In full, the airline announced all cabin crew will now wear “disposable, full body protective gear during flights while passengers must wear face coverings.” This means all flight attendants will wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) suits over their cabin uniforms, including goggles, face masks and gloves.

There is no other global airline that has offered this level of protection for both its flight crew and passengers. Philippines Airlines and AirAsia require their flight crew to wear full PPE suits, though the two airlines fly regionally.

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“At Qatar Airways, we have introduced these additional safety measures onboard our flights to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of our passengers and cabin crew, and to limit the spread of coronavirus,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.

In addition to Qatar Airways’ flight crew wearing full protective body gear, all Qatar flights will additionally be equipped with large bottles of hand sanitizer to be used by both flight crew and passengers.

Business Class meals will be served on a tray instead of a table set up, and a cutlery wrap will be offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service, in an effort to reduce contact between the crew and the passengers, according to the release.  All social areas onboard the aircraft have been closed to observe social distancing measures.

Qatar Airways flight crew
I flew Qatar Airways Q Suite earlier this year. Each seat has a sliding partition.

Onboard any flight, passengers are required to wear a face mask, but Qatar has not indicated whether the rule is enforced. Passengers flying the award-winning Business Class have the enhanced privacy of the Qsuite, which provides include sliding privacy partitions and fully closing doors creating a private sanctuary.

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Qatar Airways flight crew being in protective hazmat suits may trigger a trend in the US. Travelers are uncertain about flying. In fact, about 100,000 passengers flew this month, compared to 2.6 million passengers that flew this time last year, according to TSA. Due to Covid-19, passengers want to know they’ll be safe, and US airlines will need to offer more reassurance.

In the US, most airlines require their flight crew to wear face masks, but that’s the extent of protective gear on record.

What do you think of Qatar Airways flight crew wearing full hazmat suits? Let us know in comments below.


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