Airlines around the world are in a race to reassure travelers that it’s safe to travel and as borders continue to open we’re seeing some innovative safety measures.
Yesterday, I received an email from Qatar Airways concerning new safety measures being implemented by Qatar Airways and Doha Hamad Airport. At the end of the email, there was a link to a video so I watched it.
Here is the video:
I found the video to be very… “unique” To be clear, I haven’t been on an airplane in months so I don’t know what the airport or airline experience feels like but watching the video actually made me feel less safe.
I felt reassured at the ~14 second mark when I saw the disinfecting robot technology. But then I began to feel uncomfortable at the ~19 second mark when I saw the flight crew dressed in full PPE suits. Then I felt even less comfortable when the video showed the crew “welcoming” passengers onboard the plane in their full PPE suits at the ~28 second mark.
It has been challenging to keep with development with every airline and airport in the world but with a few minutes of research, I discovered that I had missed a new safety initiative by Qatar Airways and an initiative by Doha Hamad International Airport.
FULL PPE, DISINFECTING ROBOTS, AND… HELMETS!?
In the first line of the press release, Hamad Airport says:
Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented the latest technologies to optimize passenger and employee safety in preparation for post-COVID-19 travel. The airport will be using robotics and advanced thermal screening helmets as part of the measures being introduced for the Post-COVID-19 era.
That’s right, this is the new norm at Doha International Airport as it has introduced a Smart Screening Helmet that uses infrared thermal imaging and artificial intelligence to screen and measure temperatures of passengers.
I guess if you’re looking for a portable and contactless tool to do so, it works but I found it a bit jarring at first glance.
The press release continues:
HIA has also invested in disinfectant robots, which are fully autonomous mobile devices emitting concentrated UV-C light, which are known to be effective in eliminating majority of infectious microorganisms. The robots are being deployed in vulnerable high passenger flow areas to reduce the spread of pathogens.”
In addition to the initiatives above, this is a list of COVID-19 related initiatives you will also see at the airport:
- The airport will require 1.5m social distancing (marked with floor markings, signage, and distance seating)
- Passengers will be provided with hand sanitizer
- Retail and food and beverage outlets will encourage cashless transactions through cards
- Ultraviolet disinfection tunnels will be used to disinfect all checked-in passenger luggage
- A face mask detection system will use AI to detect if all employees are wearing masks
- High contact areas will be cleaned and disinfected every 10-15 minutes
- All baggage trolleys and tubs will be regularly disinfected
I love the initiatives but I admit, it caught me off-guard. I want to be safe but to be honest…I’m not sure if the photo above makes me feel more “safe.” Personally, it makes me feel less safe and makes me ask “do I need one of those suits?”
What are thoughts? How do you feel about these initiatives? Do you feel more comfortable when you see crew dressed in full PPE?