New Rules for Flights in the EU: What We Need to Know

Tourism | June 30, 2020, Tuesday // 15:07|  views

Europe is gradually opening up, in many places the summer holidays have already begun, which means that many will decide to travel by plane. But what do we need to know if we are about to fly?

DW prepared a list of more important rules and measures introduced by airlines and airports in Europe.

Masks are mandatory - both on the plane and at the airport

Wearing safety masks is mandatory for all passengers - both at the airport and on the plane. An exception is made only for children up to 6 years, as well as for people for whom wearing a mask is not recommended for medical reasons.

Another important requirement is to change the mask every four hours and to wash and disinfect your hands often. And since baggage handover, security checks and the flight itself usually take more than four hours, passengers must also have a second change mask.

Hand luggage

At most German airports, the following rule applies: only one hand luggage per person. This is done in order to reduce the time for checking luggage, which in turn reduces the risk of infection.

During the checks, passengers are required to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters, which requires more check-in counters to open and check documents and luggage.

Medical control of airports

At this stage, airports in Germany have not yet introduced mandatory temperature measurement, but are still required to have the necessary equipment to be able to start measuring the temperature of all passengers if necessary.

Individual airlines also have their own rules. For example, Germany's Lufthansa plans to offer its passengers a voluntary coronavirus test. Initially, the service will be introduced at the airports in Frankfurt am Main and Munich, and the test results will be ready in four hours. The airline clarifies that the service will be offered mainly to passengers traveling to countries that require an up-to-date infection test.

The risk on board of the aircraft

Yes, there is a risk of infection on board of the plane, but it is not high, the airlines say, explaining that in airplanes the air circulation is from top to bottom. This means that the air exhaled by the passengers seeps to the floor. "The risk of airborne infection on board of our aircraft is as insignificant as in the operating room of any German hospital," we read on the Condor website.

The head of the Hamburg Institute for Tropical Medicine, Jonas Schmidt-Hanazit, has a different opinion. According to him, there is a risk with the most modern air filtration systems. And the longer the flight, the higher the risk of infection, warns the virologist.

Empty seats in the middle?

Airlines are not required to leave the middle seats on aircraft unoccupied. The carrier may make such an arrangement, but only if the number of passengers allows it. In other words, passengers are not allowed to require airlines to leave the middle seats unoccupied./DW

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