How clean are the surfaces? Can I touch them?
Where possible, travellers should avoid contact and unnecessary touching of surfaces in all situations, to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Airports and airlines have been made aware of the need for enhanced cleaning activities both in volume and frequency and for increased ventilation of facilities. EASA has also issued special instructions with respect to aircraft disinfection.
How are environments and surfaces at airports and on board cleaned and disinfected?
The EASA guidelines recommend the regular cleaning and disinfecting of all frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, banister rails, buttons). Particular attention should also be paid to plastic security screening trays as well as to facilities such as airport lavatories. Hand sanitiser points should be made readily available.
What precautions will be taken to avoid contamination via air conditioning systems?
Airport operators have been advised to ensure proper air ventilation of their facilities. This includes minimising the percentage of air recirculation and favouring when possible the use of fresh air, in accordance with international guidance for ventilation of indoor public spaces.
Furthermore, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems should be optimised to ensure a high rate of air change. In older facilities, subject to airport/terminal construction and meteorological conditions, windows can be kept open for additional supply of fresh air, subject to the absence of horizontal air flows.
Is the aircraft disinfected before boarding and after each flight?
Airlines are required to perform the cleaning and disinfection of their aircraft in accordance with the EASA Aircraft cleaning and disinfection guidance.
What happens if the temperature check shows that my body temperature is elevated?
- The temperature check is intended to identify passengers with a skin temperature of 38°C or higher. If that result shows in your case, at least one further temperature check will normally be carried out for confirmation purposes. Passengers with an elevated skin temperature will be referred to secondary assessment by a health professional, to establish whether this may indicate a COVID-19 infection, or follow alternative procedures in accordance with the agreed protocol of screening in that location.
- Airports have been recommended to provide separate interview booths for investigation of suspected cases requiring further assessment. These measures should ensure confidentiality and be set up in a way that prevents potential transmission of the virus to individuals in the neighbouring booths.
Will shops, playgrounds and smoking areas be open at the terminal?
Please check with the airport before setting out on your journey, for example by checking its website. Airports should advise passengers about how to make use of airport facilities and services, in line with national regulations. We would like to remind you that the longer the time spent in public areas the higher the possibility to be infected. Please be reasonable.
Are we still allowed to carry hand luggage on board the aircraft or do we have to check in all bags?
Airlines are asking passengers to take minimal hand luggage into the cabin. This will speed up the boarding and disembarking process and also reduce the movement in the cabin, and therefore the potential spread of the virus. Where possible, airlines will make available self-check-in facilities for checked baggage, so as to avoid interaction with staff at check-in counters.
Many airlines are promoting the carriage of luggage in the cargo compartments by implementing incentive policies. Please make sure that any luggage which will be checked in does not contain any valuable or essential items (such as cash, credit cards, keys, medicines, unreplaceable items of sentimental value), lithium batteries (in equipment or stand-alone) or other prohibited items. Have a look at EASA's safety checklist 'Preparing your luggage - Security requirements when packing'.
Please also check with your airline on checked baggage allowances.
Do I have to check in online or use the self-check in at the airport?
Wherever possible, you should use mobile or online facilities to check in before you get to the airport, as this shortens the process at the airport.
If you need to check in at the airport, you should follow local instructions to use self-check-in kiosks or proceed to a check-in counter.
Airlines and airports are setting up their facilities to ensure that physical distancing can be respected wherever feasible, especially during check-in, security check, pre-boarding and boarding. When the recommended physical distancing of 1.5 metres is not possible -due to infrastructure or operational constraints, passengers must follow the additional risk mitigation measures such as hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
Passengers should look for floor markings or signs indicating the arrangements in that particular location.
Are there any special luggage handling processes due to COVID-19?
In many airports, special baggage disinfection measures may take place. You should bear this in mind when choosing which check-in luggage to take on your trip and avoid bags that could be damaged or disfigured if treated with disinfectant. For more information, contact your airline and the airports you will depart from, arrive at and transit through.
Can I take my sanitizing gel on board? Is it possible to exceed the 100 ml security limit?
Under the current security rules, you can carry as hand luggage liquids (including sanitizing gels) in individual containers with a capacity not greater than 100 ml and contained in one transparent re-sealable plastic bag of a capacity not exceeding one litre.
If you intend to take sanitizing gels in quantities exceeding the current restrictions, please contact the airport of your departure or the airline you are flying with to obtain detailed information on the applicable regulations.
How does boarding work under the COVID-19 measures?
A) Can I get masks in the airplane? Or when boarding?
Passengers are required to wear a medical face mask from the moment they enter the departure terminal until the time they leave the terminal at the destination airport. You should bring a sufficient supply of medical face masks for the entire duration of your journey, bearing in mind that the mask normally need to be changed at least every four hours. Airports and airline operators have been encouraged to make it possible to buy medical face masks if passengers do not have access to a sufficient quantity before they embark on their journey. We recommend to contact the departure airport and clarify this issue before your journey.
B) How will physical distancing be ensured while boarding the plane?
Airlines, airport operators and relevant service providers have been asked to review their boarding procedures to ensure these are as efficient as possible and limit the risk of virus transfer through close contact with other people. Depending on the terminal facilities, you may encounter the following boarding procedures:
- walking in a spaced manner from the gate to the parked aircraft on the apron, or
- travel via buses to the parked aircraft, and then via stairs, or
- via an air bridge directly onto the aircraft.
Where buses are used as part of the boarding process, more buses than usual will be provided, wherever feasible, to allow for adequate physical distancing inside them.
Where boarding is performed using an air bridge, airlines may adopt processes to make the process smoother and quicker. For example, your flight may board by rows starting with the furthest row from the aircraft entrance doors. Alternatively, all window seat passengers may board first, followed by middle seats, followed by aisle seats.
In all cases, you should observe the instructions given by airport staff and cabin crew for your particular flight.
I can’t judge how much extra time I should allow for checks and procedures, what is the recommendation?
Check the website of your departure airport for information. You need to allow sufficient time to cover all steps needed: checking in your luggage, at the security check, passport control (if required), at the gate and the boarding of your flight.
Will temperature screening be performed at airports?
Not in all cases. However you will be required to comply with thermal screening (skin temperature check or camera) if national policy at the departure location requires this as part of their national response plan, or if the carrying out of this procedure has been agreed with the destination State.