Whine Wednesday: Flying Irresponsibly – Passengers Tightly Packed Together Despite Empty Aircraft Cabin

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After quite some time I flew Air Asia again this week and once I was on board and every passenger has been seated it showed a shocking disregard for safety and their own health protocols.

Despite the airline propagating distancing, cleanliness and mask wearing on their website and printed material the practice on the ground looks different as passengers are tightly packed together.

These days airlines including Air Asia like to talk about how safe and clean everything is but when it comes to actual ground and inflight operations the reality often differs greatly from their own words.

What is Air Asia saying about safety protocols and health protection measures?

For one they made this video to display their commitment to health and safety:

It looks genuine like they actually care and to be upfront about it my flight itself was perfectly fine. It’s just the close proximity to other people on the ground and in flight that seemed confusing if you consider how Air Asia recommends distancing.

You can find details of their health and safety protocols on the Air Asia website.

In reality you didn’t see any distancing even before entering the aircraft. The boarding process was crowded and two buses filled to the brim.

Once on board the picture was the same. Half of the plane are classified as premium seats (Air Asia calls them Hot Seats) despite offering no real benefit in terms of seat pitch except for Bulkhead Row 1 and Exit Row 9.

None of the passengers booked these seats because on such a short 1:40h flight booking the Hot Seat costs 40% of the entire ticket.

So what happens? Passengers are hurdled together in the remaining seats in the back while keeping half the plane completely empty.

This could be avoided if the check-in staff at the airport scrambles people around the entire plane as long as it’s not full with the exception of those seats that really offer a premium pitch.

Conclusion

Airline business models don’t go together with both profit and restrictive health policies. Apparently it’s too much to ask that Air Asia (and other carriers, my Bangkok Airways flight wasn’t much better) move people apart a bit, allowing non occupied parts of the cabin to be utilized.

Am I very concerned about this? No I’m not, Thailand doesn’t have a significant problem with Covid-19. I simply wear my mask and mind my own business like during pre-Covid times. What rubs me the wrong way is the hypocrisy of urging people to do this and that while then going against all this advise as a matter of policy.

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