Baggage tags to be replaced by SMS: Govt

(Representative image)

NEW DELHI: The aviation ministry on Thursday released detailed standard operating norms covering all aspects of air travel right from arriving at origin airport to alighting at the destinations.
According to the norms, airlines will have to adhere to lower and upper fare limits prescribed by the aviation ministry during coronavirus pandemic and “vulnerable persons, such as very elderly, pregnant ladies and passengers with health issues are advised to avoid air travel.”
Everyone will need to do web check-in and print a boarding card before reaching airport at least two hours before flight time. People with red light on their Aarogya Setu App will not be allowed to travel.
Domestic flights will begin on Monday with one-third of originally approved summer schedule.
Passengers will be allowed only one hand and one check-in bag each. However, instead of printed baggage tag for check-in luggage, an electronic confirmation will be sent in form of SMS. Passengers will also need to complete check-in procedure and baggage drop at least 60 minutes before departure time.
Flyers will not be allowed to consume any eatables inside aircraft during flight (except on health grounds) and water bottle will be made available in the galley or on seats.
“Passenger shall not travel if he/she is staying in a containment zone. Also, they should not travel if they have tested positive for COVID-l9. Passengers are expected to certify status of their health through the Aarogya Setu app or a self-declaration form. If a passenger who is not permitted to fly, undertakes an air journey he/she shall be liable for penal action,” it says.
Passengers will need to give an undertaking about their health with their contact information to airlines before being allowed to board aircraft.
Yellow coloured bins will be placed to dispose used masks, gloves and tissues across airports.
Here are the salient features at each point, with social distancing to be maintained everywhere, according to the SOP issued by ministry joint secretary Usha Padhee:
* Arriving at airport:
Face masks to be worn on reaching the terminal and then to be worn through rest of the journey. Thermal screening will be done at the forecourt and passengers will need to show status of their Aarogya Setu App. Children below 14 will not need this app. Only those with flights in next four hours will be allowed to enter terminals.
Mats or carpets soaked in bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) will be placed at entrance for disinfecting shoes. The use of trolleys will be discouraged in departure and arrival. Those genuinely equating trolleys will be given the same on request only. All trolleys will be frequently disinfected.
“At the baggage drop counter the passenger shall display the PNR and his/her identification to staff. Upon confirmation, staff shall print the baggage tag and attach it on the bag. Instead of issuing a printed receipt to passenger, an electronic receipt in form of SMS will be sent to passenger,” the SOP says.
* Security check:
“Security staff will practice ‘minimum touch’ concept to reduce physical contact with passengers.”
* Security hold area:
“Chairs marked not for use will not be occupied” for social distancing.
* Boarding:
This will commence 60 minutes before departure and close 20 minutes before flight time.
Passengers will collect a safety kit comprising of three-layered surgical masks, face shield and sanitiser from airline near boarding gate. They will need to wear these and sanitise hands before proceeding for aircraft. Thermal scanning will be done before allowing passengers with masks to board.
Boarding to be done in batches of 10. Airlines will follow protocol for boarding to minimise passengers crossing each other.
* Onboard aircraft:
Cabin Crew will wear personal protection equipment, which includes full body gown, shoe cover, mask and gloves. All passengers will need to wear masks.
Passengers have been advised to minimise use of lavs and they will not be allowed to eat anything onboard. Water bottles will be kept in alley or on seats to minimise interaction with crew. Onboard sale of any item not allowed.
* Alighting from aircraft:
This will happen sequentially. Baggage will be placed on arrival carousel in a staggered manner to avoid overcrowding.

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