National flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) has reduced the number of passengers on each flight in line with COVID-19 measures, but the airline has also introduced new faces aboard. Bearing the tag of “hygiene experts,” this new staff addition is tasked with ensuring in-flight hygiene as the carrier resumed domestic flights Monday.
In the time of the pandemic, every aspect of daily life has changed and flights are no exception. Donning protective shields, experts constantly check the airplane for compliance with hygiene rules before, during and after the flight. The carrier, which launched its first domestic flight between Istanbul and Ankara after a two-month break, also presents masks and hygiene kits containing sanitizers to passengers before each flight.
The carrier, which will also resume its international flights in the coming days, looks to reassure passengers that it is safe to fly again with strict measures against the pandemic. Hygiene experts continuously disinfect the planes' lavatories and any spots passengers may have touched. Experts also arrange social distancing during flights, keeping passengers at a safe distance from each other and warning those who remove their masks.
These experts also have the unusual task of making sure that other passengers keep their masks on as one passenger eats or drinks during the flight. After each flight, airplanes are thoroughly disinfected, from seats to windows to lavatories.
Airports in Istanbul, Ankara, Turkey’s third-largest city Izmir, the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya and the Black Sea city Trabzon reopened for limited daily flights, and more airports are set to reopen this week.
Passengers will receive a code from the Health Ministry’s Hayat Eve Sığar (Life Fits Inside Home) app to be able to board flights. Also applicable for other modes of travel, the code confirms the health condition of the passenger; sick passengers or those suspected of being infected are not allowed to fly.
Apart from laptops, purses and baby strollers, all hand baggage is banned on flights and wearing masks is mandatory. Passengers are also screened for body temperature at airport entrances through thermal cameras. The ticket checking procedure is now skipped, and instead, passengers scan a code on their paperwork into devices installed at the airport. Those seeing off passengers are not allowed inside the airport terminal. Flights can resume only after airports are certified as safe against COVID-19.
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