In these perilous times, as we try to keep ourselves safe in the pandemic and show some responsibility towards keeping others safe as well, some people continue to vehemently oppose face masks and coverings. But this can prove to be risky for others in their vicinity, especially if they are sharing a public space, such as an aircraft. But now, to make a statement of sorts perhaps, an airline has decided to seat passengers who refuse to wear a mask in a special section of the aircraft.
According to a report in The Independent, Aeroflot, a Russia’s flag carrier, has said it has a dedicated area for “maskless travellers”. This special “mask-free zone” will be located at the very end of the aircraft — the back — “in the last couple of rows on the right-hand side”.
An Aeroflot spokesperson was quoted as telling Reuters: “Dedicated seats are allocated to passengers who declare their refusal to use masks after [the aircraft’s] doors close.”
The Independent report mentions that the airline, however, has also announced this week that any passenger who is not wearing a mask will be denied boarding, without exception. This would mean that if a person cannot wear a mask for any medical reason, they will not be allowed to fly with the carrier. Additionally, travellers are also required to change their masks every three hours during flights.
It is, therefore, being understood that the “mask-free section” is reserved for passengers who wear a face covering while boarding the flight, but then take it off once the aircraft has “left the gate”.