The travel industry has been forced into some backward bends in 2020 – few good. Human ingenuity, however, has sprung too, and we’ve seen the best (supermarket creativity) and worst (toilet paper disputes) of humanity.
Speaking of, one (domestic) first class American Airlines passengers’ genius response to COVID takes the
cake tray table this week.
James Asquith, founder and CEO of home exchange company Holiday Swap (and the youngest man to visit all 196 countries) recently took to Instagram in an astronaut outfit, which he somehow managed to convince airport security to let him on board an American Airlines flight with.
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“Taking COVID flying protection to a new level,” he captioned the post. “I would like to think that someone captured m[e] on their instagram calling me a total bellend on last nights redeye flight.”
“Favourite pastime is annoying airlines (in a light hearted way). This one was a challenge,” Asquith added.
“Security: Why is there an astronaught helmet in your bag? Crew: This guy has a screw loose. Me: can this plane get to 150,000ft so I can see my homies on the International Space Station.”
Asquith’s followers response suggested, had they been on the flight, they would have appreciated it.
One wrote: “Best lighthearted post yet. I flew delta and AA this past month and the difference was polarizing. AA only seem to care about profits while ignoring on-board social distancing. The flight departed PACKED from Florida, epicenter, of the US.”
“Well this is amazing and I now need to find a space suit on eBay,” commented another.
Yet another took the chance to have a gratuitous crack at American’s renowned sub par culinary offering: “Surprised you didn’t mention the culinary ‘slop’ in front of you.”
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Beyond providing passengers with a breath of light-hearted air in these heavy times, the post may not be as ludicrous as it seems. Though Asquith would not have been able to (easily) eat with the helmet in place, while airline safety measures reportedly give you an almost vanishing (1/4300) chance of getting Covid-19 on a full 2-hour flight and while it’s hardly the most comfortable way to spend a trip, there is some (small) reason his antics might be considered more than a publicity stunt.
Why? It’s not just Naomie Campell that takes hygiene seriously these days. In fact, Qatar Airways has introduced hazmat suits for flight attendants, which are not so far off Asquith’s getup.
Of course, part of the reason Qatar Airways introduced the hazmat suits was about reassurance – to provide passengers with the sense the highest precautions are being taken. But also, as Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said of the change, there is a physical element to it too – however minimal.
“At Qatar Airways, we have introduced these additional safety measures onboard our flights to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of our passengers and cabin crew, and to limit the spread of coronavirus.”
While Asquith’s outfit is hardly a professional job, you have to admire his ingenuity.