Commercial aviation has certainly changed significantly as a result of the pandemic that has seized the world since this past spring, and Iberia has been changing with it; not only are we carrying passengers, but we’ve also undertaken a number of initiatives such as the opening of a special route with China for the transfer of medical supplies; the donation of thousands of items to hospitals; and the conduct of some 30 repatriation flights to get more than 8,000 people back home.
In addition, we’ve restarted our summer route schedule with a robust series of prevention and hygiene measures designed by Spanish and European aviation authorities to safeguard your health and wellbeing when you fly with us, whilst providing as pleasant a flying experience as possible, in addition to those already in place since the beginning of the pandemic. These measure apply to every aspect of your trip, from even before you arrive at your depature airport to arrival at your destination.
- Public-health authorities now require passengers to fill out a declaration of health, either during online check in (recommended) or at your departure airport, to confirm that you haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19; present symptoms of the disease; have been in direct contact with someone who has; or are still in a period of quarantine. If you do have symptoms, do not go to the airport and instead contact our customer-service team by phone or on our social-media channels.
- In addition, if you’re flying into Spain from abroad, you’ll need to fill out an FCS (Health Control Form) within 48 hours of boarding your flight; you may do so at the Spanish Ministry of Health‘s “Spain Travel Health“ page or downloading a special smartphone app. This should be done only after online check in, as you will need to provide your seat number. Once you’ve filled out the form, you will be assigned a QR code to download to your phone or print out, which will be required in order to collect your luggage and exit the airport at your destination.
- Spain’s State Agency of Air Security (AESA) has restricted access to the country’s airports only to airline passengers, and with a maximum of six hours prior to flight departure time; the only exceptions where non-passengers are allowed are if they are accompanying passengers who require assistance, such as those with mobility issues or minors who will be flying unaccompanied.
- It’s also important to get to your departure airport well in advance of your flight, as many countries have instituted new checks and measures which can take significant additional time before your reach your departure gate. This is another reason to check in and get your boarding pass online, downloading it to your phone.
At the Airport
- As airports are enclosed spaces, passengers are required to where surgical or high-quality face masks that cover their noses and mouths. And while airports have strengthened their cleaning and sanitation protocols as well as provided antiseptic gel at check-in counters and other points of passsenger contact, it’s still important to remember to wash your hands with soap and water; avoid touching your face; limit your contact with surfaces as well as people outside your immediate circle; and respect physical distancing recommendations as much as practicable.
- Said physical distancing is a key aim in our reorganisation of queues for check in, boarding, and other passengers services. We have also installed transparent screens at all check-in and customer-service desks, and all of our personnel are outfitted with personal protection equipment (PPE).
- In addition to checking in online before arrival at the airport or at auto-check-in quiosques, we also recommend you check hand luggage – free of charge – and board just with your shoulder bag, book bag, or briefcase, to minimise inflight contact.
- At departure gates, boarding is now conducted in order of row, from the back of the airplane cabin toward the front, to make the process as quick, safe, and comfortable as possible. You will of course find your row as well as seat number on your boarding pass, and please keep in mind that you shouldn’t approach the boarding point until your row has been called.
- Surgical-grade or high-protection face masks are required for passengers over 6 years of age: they must cover nose and mouth, and must be worn when boarding the aircraft. If a person does not comply, he or she will not be permitted to board any flight.
- It goes without saying that the mask requirement holds once on board, as well, with the exception of eating and drinking, and that it must be changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- We have reinforced and enhanced our hygiene protocols even further, increasing the frequency of cleaning as well as using products specially indicated as effective against the coronavirus, particularly with regards to all surfaces, washrooms, and crew areas. Cabin air is renewed every three minutes, and our aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters which eliminate 99.99 percent of all airborne viruses and bacteria.
- In addition, inflight service has been simplified; for example we have switched over to single-use utensils for meal service, and the availability of special meals has been temporarily suspended (be assured that we are working to restart it as soon as possible). Inflight sales of duty-free items have also been suspended, and we have discontinued all paper magazines and newspapers (instead, we encourage you to take advantage of our selection of digital publications, accessed via our seat-back entertainment system)
- Passengers are offered moist desinfectant wipes – upon boarding as well as before each meal service on flights of more than four hours and 30 minutes – as well as individual bags for disposal of used face masks. On long-haul flights, amenities will continue to include sterilised blankets and pillows in hygienically sealed packages; on short- and medium-haul routes, however, these have been discontinued.
- In addition to being outfitted with PPE, our cabin crews have received special training in prevention protocols developed by public-health authorities, as well as in how to spot any passengers who may be presenting COVID-19 symptoms.
- In most countries, arriving passengers are subject to protocols and checks established by local ministries of health. In the case of those arriving in Spain from abroad, you will be required to fill out and submit a “Passenger Location Card” (PLC) that will be handed out before landing. Each passenger’s temperature will be taken via thermal cameras, and those registering a fever will need to undergo a medical examination before leaving the airport.
- Finally, while you’re waiting for your checked baggage, again, please remember to maintain appropriate physical distance from other passengers, and do not crowd or even approach the luggage carousel until you see your bags. Once you’ve collected your luggage, do not linger, and head directly for the exit to minimise contact with others. Keep in mind that some arrivals terminals may limit access to passengers and cabin crew, so anyone coming to meet you at the airport may have to wait outside the building.
Yes, several new rules and regulations, but all to the goal of making the experience of flying as safe as possible during our “new normal” in the age of coronavirus and COVID-19. Rest assured that at Iberia your safety comes first, and we will endeavor to make that experience as comfortable and convenient as we can. We hope to see you onboard soon!