Cathay Pacific under fire after announcing mask exemption for business & first class passengers
Business and first passengers exempt from face coverings.
Cathay Pacific has removed the requirement for their premium class passengers to wear a face mask while on board some aircraft, drawing sharp criticism from around the world.
In an internal memo sent on Friday, the airline detailed its plan to offer a mask exemption “when a passenger is lying flat in business or first class.”
The Hong Kong-based airline says that the high enclosures surrounding its business class seats and first class suites, along with the greater degree of personal space, helps combat the spread of the virus.
However, there is no such exemption for economy class passengers who find themselves sat among empty seats.
The news has caused outrage among health professionals who have dismissed the carrier’s reasoning, explaining that flight attendants are now at greater risk of catching the coronavirus purely to appease its big-spending customers.
A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific defended the change to Fox News, stating: “The latest additional guidelines are designed to help our crew understand the circumstances under which mask wearing is exempted.
“Passengers are required to wear masks at all times except during the short period when they are eating and drinking, and when proper social distancing cannot be maintained.
“Seats in First and Business Class are more spacious with partitions, and passengers are exempted when lying flat for sleep. Our aircraft are equipped with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresters) filtration systems that are capable of filtering 99.999% of dust particles and airborne contaminates such as viruses and bacteria, ensuring the highest possible cabin air quality.”