Story By: Lisa-Maria Goertz, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
An Indonesian airline has said they will drop the use of face masks for their crew after receiving customer complaints because they cannot tell if the flight attendants are smiling.
The Garuda airline from Indonesia restarted flights on May 7th and under new restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic are obliged to make their staff wear face masks on duty.
However, the airlines CEO Irfan Setiaputra talked about the issue during in a recent press conference, saying that the airline is planning to change the face masks for alternative Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or transparent face shields, which allow passengers to see the entire face.
Setiaputra said: “Many Garuda passengers complained about the flight attendants wearing masks because the passengers can’t see if the attendants are smiling or frowning.”
He added that the airline plan to implement the face shields gradually with the idea of eliminating the use of face masks completely.
This comes after just last month, the CEO reportedly laughed off the idea of using the face shields saying: “All those PPE make (flight attendants) look like astronauts. I ask, is that a hospital or an aeroplane?”
The corporate secretary of Garuda, Mitra Piranti told local media that they have not decided on a timeframe for the new policy.
Mitra said: “We continually evaluate the appropriateness and safety of the protective equipment for our flight crews in terms of prevailing flight safety regulations, while also looking to provide an excellent service.”
The news has been met with mirth by some social media users, one of whom wrote: “The Garuda passengers who complained about flight attendants are definitely men.”
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