In a wake of coronavirus pandemic, India suspended domestic and international flights from March 25 and March 23, respectively. After the resumption of flights in the domestic segments from May 25 and international segments under Vande Bharat Mission since May 7, the Indian government banned meal and beverage services and in-flight entertainment.
According to the latest set of COVID-19 guidelines for flyers: Airlines can now offer meals on board as the Ministry of Civil Aviation has changed the standard operating methods for domestic and international flights.
In the order issued on Thursday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed airlines to provide prepackaged snacks, meals, and beverages on domestic flights after consulting with all stakeholders. For international flights, airlines may follow standard practices to provide hot meals with limited beverages.
According to current regulations, the government has also allowed in-flight entertainment on domestic and international flights.
The Ministry of Aviation also warned that any passenger who refuses to wear a mask in flight can be included in the no-fly lists by the airline.
The following are the new flight rules you should know:
1) Meal and Beverage Service
A) The airlines are now allowed to provide food and beverage services on board.
B) Airlines can provide pre-packaged snacks/meals and pre-packaged beverages according to the flight time and in accordance with the airline’s policy, but the following conditions must be met:
- In all classes, either business or economy, tray set-up, plates, and cutlery will be completely disposable without reuse or clean disinfected rotables must use.
- Used disposable trays/cutlery/cookeries must not be reused. The used rotables should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before reuse.
- In all classes; coffee/tea/non-alcoholic beverage services will be placed in disposable bottles/glasses/cans/containers.
- No pouring services will be offered, and beverages will be served in single-use disposable units.
- All used disposable and rotable meals. For each meal/beverage service, the crew should wear fresh gloves.
- Before starting the catering services, passengers will be informed of strict compliance with the regulations through passenger announcements.
2) In-Flight Entertainment
Besides food, the Administration of Civil Aviation has also allowed the use of in-flight entertainment systems on international and domestic flights, wherever available may be switched on and in strict compliance with the following guidelines:-
- Wipedown IFE individual with approved cleaning agents.
- Before boarding, all IFEs will be cleaned and disinfected.
- At the beginning of the journey, passengers will be provided with disposable earphones or cleaned and disinfected headphones.
- Each seat has its own dedicated IFE, which can only be used by passengers occupying the seat.
- In addition to the standard operating procedures for internal cleaning of the aircraft, all passenger touchpoints will be carefully cleaned and disinfected after the flight.
3) Ban if refuse to wear a mask
- India’s aviation administrator seems to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to safety on board. This is the latest method for flights includes a very stern missive: if you refuse to wear a mask, you may not only be prohibited from that flight but you will also be banned from flying altogether.
- Refusing to wear a mask on board a flight may cause a passenger on the no-fly list, Arun Kumar, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has declared.