Thursday, 9 Jul 2020

UN Agency Air Travel Guidelines Include Restricted Bathroom Visits

When you gotta go, you better go before getting on the plane.

New guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus on aircraft issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) call for restricted access to the bathroom during the flight. The restroom is the smallest space on the airplane and certainly a petri dish of sorts for germs.

ICAO is a United Nations agency that concentrates on air travel, and its report on aviation during the COVID-19 pandemic was designed to protect air passengers and crew from further exposure to the virus, according to the British Broadcasting Corp. That’s especially true with the demand slowly but surely increasing.

ICAO’s goal is to have a unified response for both airlines and airports when trying to keep passengers and staff safe from the virus. There were other suggested restrictions, but bathroom usage is certainly the most eye-catching.

Access to toilets should be restricted, ICAO said, and where possible, one toilet should be set aside for use by cabin crew. Passengers should use a designated lavatory based on which seat they have, ICAO suggested.

That, obviously, could create some logistical issues during flights.

Fortunately, one of the other suggested rules is that food and drinks on short-haul flights should be limited or suspended, or be sold in sealed, pre-packaged containers.

In general, face masks should be worn in line with public health guidelines, and social distancing should be made possible where it is feasible, although ICAO did not call for mandatory social distancing.

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