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Wednesday 3 June 2020

Why you may be denied toilet access on your next flight

You need to go to the toilet? Sorry you'll just have to hold it in.

New guidance issued in a report by the International Civil Aviation Organisation says passengers should have restricted access to toilets as airlines begin to rel-launch flights in the wake of the conoravirus pandemic.

One toilet should be set aside entirely for crew, while passengers should use a designated toilet cubicle based on their seat number, said the United Nations body. 

Singapore was the first country to say it will fully implement all the guidelines. 
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that it is "very satisfied" with the guidelines, which will help to co-ordinate the international aviation community's steps towards recovery and "help build up public confidence for international travel".
Ryanair, always controversial and known for under-delivering on service, has said that it will ban queuing for toilets, with passengers forced to ask crew for permission to use the lavatory.

Food and drink services should be suspended or limited on short-haul flights or sold in pre-sealed packs, said ICAO in its report.

Duty-free sales should also be temporarily limited as part of the wide-ranging coronavirus safety recommendations, it added.

ICAO hasn't insisted on social-distancing on planes, but it said passengers should be seated separately "when occupancy allows it". Bad news for Qantas if the guidelines are enforced. 

Hand luggage should be limited to a small bag per passenger, which can be stowed under the seat, while newspapers and magazines should be removed.

In general, face masks should be worn in line with public health guidelines, and social distancing should be made possible where it is feasible, the UN body said.

It is recommending that all areas are routinely cleaned and that passengers are checked for signs of coronavirus, including measures such as temperature screening. Contact tracing methods should also be explored, it said.

At airports, staff should have adequate personal protective equipment, which "could include gloves, medical masks, goggles or a face shield, and gowns or aprons".

Passengers should be encouraged to check-in before arriving at the airport and to use mobile boarding passes.

Airports should also use contactless technology, including facial and iris scanning, for self-service bag drops, various queue access, boarding gates and retail and duty-free outlets, the guidelines added.

"This will eliminate or greatly reduce the need for contact with travel documents between staff and passengers," the UN agency said.

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