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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.

a pair of slippers on a bed


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.

people sitting on an airplane
Cathay Pacific, premium economy

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

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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