Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: email@example.com.
On June 11th, Transat unveiled its brand new Traveller Care program, which features enhanced health and safety measures at check-in, during boarding, on board and at destination—as recommended by regulatory authorities such as the International Civil Aviation Organization—so that guests can travel with peace of mind.
The program comes as Transat announced its plans to resume its flight and tour operations on July 23rd (flights have been temporarily suspended since April 1st).
Air Transat will operate select routes to Europe, down south (U.S. & Caribbean) and a domestic service (click here for more details).
Under its new Traveller Care program, here's what to expect, before, during, and after the flight:
Before you board
First and foremost, Transat asks all travellers to ensure they're in good health prior to boarding. If an individual is showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, they could be denied boarding.
As the situation changes daily, Transat also asks guests to stay informed.
This means watching local news reports and frequently checking the websites of the desired destination and its airports to see if there are any additional health measures required for entry.
Face masks are mandatory and masks are also required when boarding a shuttle bus to or from the hotel upon arrival.
To make sure guests have enough time before boarding, Transat recommends that guests check in online for their flight 24 hours in advance, where they'll also be asked a series of health-related questions.
All payments related to bags or seating arrangements can also be done online 72 hours prior to takeoff.
The Transat app is also free to download, and can help travellers with common questions or real time updates.
Transat has taken a proactive approach in order to make sure guests and staff are properly protected at the airport.
All check-in counters and self-service kiosks will be regularly and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed around check-in counters and self-service kiosks to encourage frequent sanitation.
Transat employees will wear face coverings or will be behind Plexiglas partitions to minimize face-to-face contact with travellers.
Though they've been a staple at airports for quite some time, Transat is also encouraging travellers to use the self-service kiosks as much as possible, to cut back on the need for lineups at the check-in counter. Those who check in for their flight and receive their boarding pass electronically will have no problem doing so!
While at the airport, guests might be required to take a temperature test—always check the respective airport website for the most up-to-date information.
Just like the check in counters, all gate counters will be thoroughly and regularly disinfected.
When it comes time to get on the plane, there will be no more crowding at the gate! All travellers will be asked to keep two metres (six feet) distance from other passengers while boarding, and priority boarding will only be offered to passengers with reduced mobility.
Passengers sitting at the back of the aircraft will be asked to board first, followed by those at the front.
Transat now uses HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters that eliminate 99.995% of small particles, such as bacteria and viruses, and these refresh cabin air every three minutes.
- Before each and every flight, the aircraft will be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectant, including seats, headrest covers, seat belt buckles, seat controls, seat-back pockets, armrests, cabin windows and shades, light switches, air circulation controls, tray tables, individual entertainment screens, and overhead bins and handles. The entire aircraft will also be cleaned every 24 hours with electrostatic disinfectant.
- Transat pilots and flight attendants will wear face coverings throughout the flight.
- Travellers will be required to wear a face covering throughout the flight.
- Travellers will receive a complimentary Traveller Care kit, which will include a face covering, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.
- Lavatories will be sanitized regularly throughout the flight with hospital-grade disinfectant. Only one passenger at a time will be allowed to wait outside.
In-flight meal service has also changed.
In Economy class, a prepackaged meal (sandwich, salad and dessert) and a snack will be served. On flights to/from the South, the United States and within Canada (longer than three hours), travellers can still purchase meals/snacks from the Bistro menu.
Bottled water will be offered on all flights and beer and bottled wine will be sold on flights longer than three hours.
Landing in destination
Remember the good old days when passengers in the window seat tried to leap over their middle and aisle seat counterparts to get off the plane first?
Passengers sitting closest to the exit door(s) will deplane first, followed by the others, to avoid crossing each other. All travellers will be asked to keep two metres (six feet) distance from the other passengers while deplaning, similar to boarding procedures. Those with an all-inclusive package will be met by a Transat representative who can assist at a dedicated area right before exiting the airport.
Once at the hotel, those with all-inclusive packages will be able to meet with Transat representatives by appointment only via the Air Transat app or by calling them. The app will also provide information on available excursions, and the destination itself.
All busses used for excursions will be properly disinfected prior to loading passengers. Both the driver and/or tour guide, as well as all passengers will be required to wear a mask.
Each bus will carry a reduced number of passengers to allow additional space for distancing. Passengers whose hotels are furthest will sit at the back and will therefore board the bus first. Transat representatives will provide boarding instructions.
When it's time to go home, travellers will be asked to repeat the processes they followed prior to departure: monitor any changes in health, check in online where possible, practice social distancing while wearing a mask in public spaces, and give yourself enough time to meet all exit requirements.
Travellers can also download the ArriveCAN app to reduce wait times upon returning to Canada and to reduce points of contact.
Those returning to Canada must still quarantine for 14 days upon arrival (unless this requirement is lifted by the time Air Transat starts flying).
For more information on Transat's new Traveller Care program, click here.
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