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Over the weekend Qatar Airways introduced a new policy for passengers who wish to change or cancel their flights due to concerns about coronavirus. Many airlines are still only applying waivers to specific routes, or including potentially confusing terms and conditions, so it’s good to see Qatar Airways take the ‘right’ approach here:
“Qatar Airways has launched a new commercial policy to provide customers with maximum flexibility to suit their travel plans. Passengers that have booked or will book flights for travel up to 30 June 2020 will be offered the flexibility to change their travel plans free of charge by altering the dates of their booking or exchanging their ticket for a travel voucher valid for one year. Both changes apply up to three days prior to departure.”
The key points are:
- Change fees are waived for all reservations until 30th June 2020
- Changes can be made up until 3 days before travel
- If you prefer to cancel, you can choose a travel voucher valid for 1 year
- The policy applies to existing tickets, not just new bookings.
If you do decide to travel and are wondering about the sort of steps that Qatar (and other airlines) take to reduce infection risks, you might find the following interesting:
“As an airline, Qatar Airways maintains the highest possible hygiene standards, which include the regular disinfection of aircraft, the use of cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and robust staff training.
In addition, Qatar Airways’ aircraft feature the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection. All the airline’s onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, while its headsets are removed of ear foams and rigorously sanitized after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves.
Qatar Aircraft Catering Company (QACC) was the first organisation in the world last year to achieve ISO22000:2018 certification from Bureau Veritas with UKAS accreditation, confirming its Food Safety Management System meets the highest standards. All meal service utensils and cutlery are washed with detergents and rinsed with demineralized fresh water at temperatures that kill pathogenic bacteria. All sanitized equipment is handled by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves, while cutlery is individually re-packed.”