Thailand has banned food, beverages, and any printed materials on board domestic flights, including newspapers and magazines, in an attempt to curb the rise in coronavirus cases. Only safety information cards would be allowed.
The airlines must follow those regulations. Otherwise, they could face possible punishment from their regulator, that is, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.
This is not the first time such a measure is imposed. Previously, on April 26 last year, Thai authorities prohibited in-flight food and drink service, but they lifted the ban on August 31.
Director General to Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) Chula Sukmanop corroborated the imposing of this regulation.
“Cleaning time after each stop of domestic flight is extremely short, since operators tend to do the quickest turnaround as possible and I think it is unlikely operators would be able to thoroughly clean all of these items. Therefore, having non-essential reading materials on-board would create more risk of virus exposure,” he said.
However, passengers are allowed to bring their own entertaining or time-killing items on board, including magazines or newspapers.
But they could be asked to keep those articles when they deplane. In the case of food or drinks, their consumption is entirely prohibited on domestic flights, even if people bring their own, because masks must be worn all the time.
In short, the CAAT regulation bans all the things that could be handed out on board.
Nevertheless, the CAAT release stated that cabin crew were enabled to give water to passengers who need it in specific situations -for instance, when they have to take medicine.
Domestic air travel in the country is now below half of its usual capacity. The government is working to boost the sector in order to heal the nation’s economy.
The CAAT ruling went into effect on New Year’s Eve. It came amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases derived from outbreaks identified in several provinces of Thailand.
Authorities have warned about the possibility of the country registering daily 5-digit figures if the necessary measures are not taken. They are expected to announce more restrictions progressively, although they will allow each province to develop its own plan to prevent the spread of the virus.