On Aeroflot, you must wear a mask or you will be denied boarding. Onboard, you must keep your mask on or face an unspecified punishment. But if you don’t keep your mask on, you’ll be accommodated in a special section in the rear of the plane and allowed to travel without your mask. So which is it?
Aeroflot Offers Mask-Free Section Onboard Instead of Flight Diversion
This isn’t a “mask or non-mask” question like the days of smoking sections. Quite the contrary, Aeroflot just tightened up it mask polices onboard. A press release issued on Tuesday notes:
Safety of passengers and crew is the airline’s top priority. Passengers can only be accepted for flight on condition that they abide by requirements for use of personal protective equipment. The airline takes tough stance against violators. Passengers who refuse to duly wear face masks for any reasons will be denied boarding.
The airline reminds, passengers must use a protective mask that fully covers their mouth and nose, at boarding and throughout the flight. A face mask can be removed to be changed and during meals.
Passengers who can’t wear masks for medical or other reasons will not be admitted to flight.
According to the press release, no exceptions whatsoever exist. But a leaked memo reveals that Aeroflot will not divert flights for those who do not comply. Instead, it will create a small anti-mask section in the rear of economy class. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will be seated there. No other consequences were noted.
An Aeroflot spokesperson confirmed:
“It is critically important for us to ensure the safety of all passengers. Dedicated seats are allocated to passengers who declare their refusal to use masks after the doors are closed” This does not exclude the application of other measures of liability for violation of the rules for the use of personal protective equipment on board.”
I personally think an anti-mask section makes more sense than diverting a flight. Nevertheless, Aeroflot is sending mixed messaging about masks, almost like a wink-wink sort of thing where passengers are told the “rules” but the rules are not actually enforced.
Have you flown Aeroflot during the pandemic? What was compliance like?