As part of an effort to ramp up safety precautions amid the global health crisis, Qatar Airways is now requiring passengers to wear full face shields as well as masks throughout flights.
According to a news release, the airline will distribute disposable plastic shields, which sort of resemble welder's masks except that they're entirely see-through, at departure gates prior to boarding.
Face shields will come in two sizes: one for adults, the other for kids. The smaller size will feature images of the carrier's Oryx Kids Club mascots. Children under age 2 are excused from the requirement.
All passengers must wear the face shields and masks while boarding and disembarking planes. Once in the cabin, those seated in economy class must keep shields and masks on their faces for the entirety of the flight, except for when they're eating and drinking.
Business-class customers, however, "are asked to wear their face shield and mask onboard at their own discretion," according to the Qatar Airways news release. Those flyers "enjoy more space and privacy," the airline reasons, so the risk of exchanging germs with others is considered to be lower.
Upon boarding, each passenger will also get a complimentary safety pack containing a single-use surgical mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
Qatar Airways flight attendants, meanwhile, will be outfitted in new PPE gowns along with goggles, gloves, and masks.
Basically, the scene aboard a Qatar Airways flight is gonna look a lot like the part in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial when hazmat-wearing government agents take over Elliott's house.
The Doha-based airline is the only one we're aware of requiring passengers to wear face shields on flights. (Spirit Airlines briefly allowed shields as a substitute for standard masks but has since removed that guidance.)
Mandated masks over mouths and noses are now pretty much universal on planes, including those flown by all major North American carriers.