The ‘Novel’ twist to flying – ‘Inside an Aircraft’

September 24, 2020
Vikas Rattan

Vikas Rattan

Back to flying amid Covid, for business or leisure, a much needed family holiday or an important event amid the Covid phase, there are some regulars that will not be the same.


‘Recently around, all operational airlines have issued advisories and protocols as well as information on how they have adapted or amended their regular standard operating procedures (SOPs) to create safer ambience for their passengers that minimize the chances of any covid related contamination. I am going to list some of the general ones that you should come across when you board.

Aircraft Sanitization
Aircraft Sanitization

Extensive disinfecting procedures are in place to cover almost all human touch surfaces

Middle Seat is not necessarily vacant: If you heard about the middle seat vacant thing, it’s probably not happening everywhere. That was too much to ask the airlines in the first place and then the rest of the passengers would have been had to carry the brunt of the deficit in average revenue per seat and thus indirectly being made to pay atleast for a fraction of the potential revenue that should have come from those empty seats. With time moving, this restriction has been taken away by various airlines in accordance with the protocols laid down by the government and the ministry. Even if you do happen to be on an airline with middle seats vacant, I don’t think it is going to negatively affect your experience in any way. Rather, more room for yourself to enjoy.

Magazines/ Menu Cards / News Papers: When you may find no magazines, no menu cards or newspapers in the seat back pocket, it would be a good idea not to ask the crew what happened to them. If that’s what you like or prefer, pack some in your hand baggage.

Face Masks: Do they need any introduction, Wearing face mask shall be mandatory but wearing a face shield or hand gloves shall be not although there are airlines which are providing these to their travellers if they would like to be extra cautious. With almost all airlines, a face mask will be the only must during C/I, Boarding and Disembarkation, although be prepared to wear it throughout your flight in the cabin as well.

TCI Holidays
“Found the middle seat vacant; that’s more room for yourself to enjoy…”
TCI Packages
“If that’s what you like or prefer, pack some in your hand baggage…”
Meal & Beverage Service: Good thing, many airlines that had stopped meal service earlier have now begun to serve meals. What you may find missing should be the quality silverware cutlery this time that some of the prestigious ones like to offer. Expect a lot of one time use and throw tableware. For those of you that get a smile on their faces once the beverage service begins, that smile would stay as beverage services have resumed alongside meal service in most airlines. For those that have this still discontinued, there are examples where airlines are allowing passengers to carry their own meals aboard. So, ensure to get this information directly from the airline or through your travel consultant, travel agent as they should be updated. Get’s particularly important, if your travelling with kids or on a medium to long haul flight. Special meal requirements… all the more important a reason to be prepared.

In Flight Orders: If your flight does not offer complimentary meals and charges for them, ensure to place an order in advance as chances of you getting served with an inflight order may be minimal.

Personal Hygiene Kits: You shall be offered with personal kits containing hand sanitizer sachets, face masks and hand gloves although this varies from airlines to airlines.

Headsets: Well may airlines are now providing them again. They are being orderly disinfected and repacked for optimal use so you should not miss them either.

Inflight Entertainment System: Did you just find it where you left it last time. But Sorry.. it may not be working!. That one does affect the experience to be honest. What you shall still be able to see will be the common screens showing essential information including safety briefings and inflight navigation related maps. If you do find the IESs working on your airline then consider yourself lucky. Airlines have already been working on reducing cost after the pandemic hit and if the current scenario gives them a chance to totally remove the IFE systems, then they may well take this opportunity or some of them.

TCI Holidays
Crew wearing PPE
The crew is getting accustomed to their new SOP

“Out of 20 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, there are less than 50 known cases of transmission on board. (Source IATA ORG)”

Carrying your own Santizer: If you are carrying your own sanitizer into the cabin, be sure to carry one that is 100 ml or less to go in accordance with the liquid/gel carriage rules. Although there are airports and airlines that have already started making exceptions to the 100 ml rule such as in the US for the sanitizer bottles only.

Crew: You shall find the crew wearing personal protective equipment including gloves. The pretty trademark uniforms that we are used to seeing can be missed but the smile and service attitude should not be missed.

Covid Testing: Yes, there are some airlines where this is in place. For example, Emirates has been checking passengers for a ‘Rapid Covid Test’ on C/I itself where the results are out in 10 minutes. Really..What if I am found positive and I was not expecting this at all? Check my another blog on what happens if you come out Covid positive at arrival in another country or while boarding or disembarking an aircraft.

If we were to look at an overall difference in experience, one could say that although the procedures are modified with some essential must do’s such as a face mask, there is hardly anything that should make our flying experience lesser enjoyable substantially. In fact, with increased need for cleaning procedures, we are rather getting taken better care of.



A passionate pro in travel, destination expert of numerous cities globally, with inside out knowhow of hotel brands around the world, having travelled all continents and 50 plus countries and a working background of Hotels & Cruises for 15 plus years underpinned by a 10 years travel industry real time presence.. Read More

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1 Comment

  1. Mrinal Sood

    Loved the way you present factual information with a sense of humor. Good to have you back.


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