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COVID-19: Cathay Pacific exempts First and Business class passengers from wearing masks when seats recline

COVID-19: Cathay Pacific exempts First and Business class passengers from wearing masks when seats recline

My initial reaction was; Outragous! But actually there is some sense in here.

ET and The Standard are reporting the sighting of a staff memo and later confirming directly with Cathay Pacific that crew have been advised that premium cabin passengers will be exempt from wearing face masks when they are fully reclined within their first and business class suites.

The reasoning is that they have more personal space, higher barriers between seats, and a greater distance between travellers that helps combat the airborne transmission of the virus between cabins.


Cathay was one of the first airlines to insist that masks be worn from airport entrance and check-in as well as on the flight. It started this rule back in May 15, 2020. Also remember that those HEPA filters on their lanes sift out more than 99% of dust, virus and bacteria particles.

Cathay Pacific, premium economy

2PAXfly Takeout

The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.

It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.

This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.

This sounds like a formalising of a practice already reported to me, that has been going on across a number of international airlines, including Qatar. In premium cabins, enforcement of masks and shield wearing is a bit less than back in economy.

It seems that one of the advantages of travelling in international premium cabins these days, is that you are less likely to have your seat cancelled – on these flights to Australia that might only have 50 passengers – and that you are exempted from mask protocols – well at least partially.

Another privilege for the rich!

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