10 Things Flight Attendants Won’t Be Allowed to Do Anymore

Between ongoing coronavirus infections and lingering fear, the pandemic is set to alter the way we fly, including what flight attendants are allowed to do while in the air.

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Exercises to detect passengers infected with Zika virus held in Primorye
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Changes in the sky

Flying, both domestically and internationally, will never look the same as it did before the COVID-19 pandemic. From masks for everyone on board to fewer passengers on a plane, air travel has and will continue to change in the weeks, months and years to come. Flight attendants are on the front lines in the sky and will need to abide by a new set of rules.

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Cabin crew on airplane with gloves and mask protection
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Welcome first class and business class passengers on first

The norm of inviting first and business class passengers to board the plane first is currently on hold, as United Airlines and others are instituting new boarding policies. Now, small groups of passengers seated in the back of the plane will be the first to board as back to front boarding is not only more time-efficient but it also and reduces passengers’ exposure to each other. Congregating at the gateway pre-boarding will also be strongly discouraged.

Your stay at your destination is changing, too. Find out 10 things you won’t see in hotels anymore.

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Flight Attendant
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Pour drinks

The next time you do fly, be sure to fill up that reusable water bottle before you get on the plane. In an effort to cut down on interactions between flight attendants and guests, attendants will no longer be handing over those half-filled plastic cups of ginger ale. Though airlines are still hammering out their policies, Michael Moebes, travel blogger at Dadcation, reported being handed a sealed baggie containing two snacks, a bottle of water, and hand sanitizer on a recent Delta flight. You should still follow these 10 etiquette rules when flying.

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Airline Travel - Economy Class
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Serve snacks

Remember, too, to pack some healthy snacks in your carry on or stop by the airport newsstand for a candy bar before you get on the plane. American Airlines, for one, recently announced it has eliminated in-flight service on domestic flights under four and a half hours. In its place, the airline is now offering complimentary pretzels, Biscoff cookies or chips, and bottled water prior to boarding. On the upside, you won’t be stuck behind the beverage cart after an ill-timed trip to the lavatory.

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cleaning airplane
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Spot check the cleanliness of an airplane seat

The changeover and cleaning up of an aircraft is a generally swift process to enable planes to get back into the sky for their next on-time departures. Going forward, even if a seat looks neat and tidy to the eye (meaning the previous occupant didn’t leave a stack of newspapers shoved into the seat pocket and cookies crumbs all over the floor), flight attendants won’t be allowed to assume that seats are clean and safe for the next passenger. Expect the cleaning and wiping down of airplanes to take longer and be more involved once regular travel resumes, including, “filling the aircraft with a germ-killing fog before cleaning crews wipe down surfaces,” says the New York Times.

Find out what’s it’s really like to be a flight attendant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Covid-19 Temperature Check
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Assume the health of a passenger

Just because a would-be flyer looks, sounds, and says they are healthy, flight attendants will not be allowed to assume passengers are indeed healthy. Frontier Airlines recently announced that starting on July 1 it will be screening all passengers via touchless thermometers at the gate prior to boarding. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to fly that day. Are you ready for what the new normal will look like after coronavirus?

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Stewardess in a white overalls and mask in the cabin serves passengers.
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Wear their uniform without a disposable gown over it

As one of its steps to protect its crew, flight attendants on Emirates airlines are now required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) along with their uniforms. In addition to masks and gloves, that includes a disposable gown and a safety visor.

Here’s what you should never say to a flight attendant.

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Empty airplane cabin
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Permit passengers to sit in the middle seats

It is undeniably the least desirable seat onboard an airplane, but still, thanks to coronavirus and social distancing practices, almost all airlines are blocking the middle seats to provide a safer distance between each passenger while in flight. (Or at least they are promising to do so.)

Your in-flight experience isn’t the only thing that will look different because of coronavirus. Here’s what travel could look like after COVID-19.

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Paying with credit card
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Ask you to apply for the airline credit card during the flight

Handing out pens? Collecting paperwork? In the age of coronavirus, those are hard nos. In-flight magazines have already been pulled from seatback pockets, so don’t expect flight attendants to be walking up and down the aisles peddling their airline’s rewards credit cards anymore. Avoid doing any of these 14 things you should never do on a plane.

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COVID-19 In Athens
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Reassure anxious passengers with a warm smile

The most noticeable change in flying will be on the faces of flight attendants and, hopefully, of every passenger that surrounds us on board the plane. Thanks to coronavirus, flight attendants will be masked for the protection of every passenger (and soon, passengers on most airlines will be required to wear a protective mask, too). This means that flashing their pearly whites to put anxious fliers at ease during a patch of turbulence will be impossible.

Need a non-medical mask in the meantime? Find out how to make a DIY face mask—no sewing required!

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Baby boy looking fascinated out of airplane window
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Help with an exhausted baby

Everyone loves (and shares on social media!) those touching pictures and videos of flight attendants helping out a worn-out mom or dad by holding, rocking, playing games with, and talking gibberish to an exhausted baby during a flight. Going forward, don’t expect airline cabin crew to be allowed to exhibit this kind of hands-on attention. Next, read on to find out 13 everyday habits that could (and should) change forever after coronavirus.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest