Violating the standard operating procedures (SOPs) or not wearing masks during flights could land an air passenger on the ‘no-fly list’, with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asking airlines to apply the rules pertaining to unruly flyers on such passengers. Meanwhile, the government has allowed airlines to resume in-flight meal services on domestic flights, and serve hot meals and alcohol on international flights subject to certain guidelines.
A senior DGCA official told The Indian Express that the decision to apprehend a passenger will rest with the crew, which can make a formal complaint if the said passenger refuses to adhere to the SOPs put in place to prevent transmission of Covid-19 disease on flights. “Someone will have to remove a mask for sometime if they want to drink water or have meals. After such a service is over, the crew can ask the passenger to cover their faces with the mask. If someone is misbehaving, and only the crew can assess the situation, they can be put on the no-fly list,” the official said.
In the US, airlines such as Delta and United have said that not only will passengers without masks be not allowed to board the aircraft but may even be placed on the no-fly list of the airlines.
In India, the no-fly list is governed by the civil aviation requirement issued by the DGCA, which lays down the procedure for a person to be disallowed from flying. As per the SOPs for flight operations during Covid-19, an airline has been mandated to provide their passengers with a face-mask, a face-shield and hand sanitiser prior to boarding the aircraft.
Further, at the time the SOPs were announced by the Civil Aviation Ministry for resumption of domestic flights on May 25, airlines were not allowed to serve meals on board. Passengers, too, were not allowed to consume any eatables inside the aircraft during the flight, except on health grounds. However, airlines were allowed to provide water bottles to their passengers.
Now, with the resumption of on-board meals, a huge relief is expected for airlines, which will be looking to add to their ancillary revenues at a time of financial struggle. However, these services are subject to certain conditions.
On domestic flights, airlines have now been allowed to serve pre-packed snacks, meals, or pre-packed beverages as per their policy depending on the duration of flight. In all classes, airlines are allowed to use completely disposable tray set-up, plates and cutlery.
They have been specifically asked not to re-use the service utensils and cutlery even after cleaning or disinfecting them. Even tea, coffee, and non-alcoholic beverages are to be served in disposable cans, containers, bottles or glasses.
There will be no pouring service and beverages will have to be served in single-use disposable units. The crew will need to wear a fresh set of gloves for every meal or beverage service.
For both international and domestic flights, in-flight entertainment has also been permitted.
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