How Finnair ensures healthy and hygienic travel
Increased attention on cleanliness and hygiene has put many travellers on alert against germs and bacteria while travelling during the coronavirus epidemic. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is a priority for us.
Due to the impacts of the coronavirus situation, we have adjusted our traffic and cancelled flights. You’ll find the most up-to-date information about Finnair traffic on our traffic updates page.
Here’s how Finnair is helping fight against infectious diseases in-flight and make travelling safe for you.
Safety as standard
The first line of defence against infectious diseases is routine hygiene and having processes in place to care for any customers who may get unwell while onboard. All Finnair flights operate with permanent instructions for dealing with suspicion of an infection, for the protection of all customers and our crew.
Thoroughly clean cabins
All Finnair aircraft are equipped with efficient air conditioning and High-Efficiency-Particulate Arrestors (HEPA) filters, which purify the air several times every hour.
The air in our cabins is a mix of fresh air from outside, and air that has been passed through these extremely efficient filters, which remove larger particles such as dust and pollen down to the size of microscopic bacteria and virus clusters. Particles within the size range of typical viruses are captured by the HEPA filters with 99,99% efficiency. It has been shown in tests that the filters provide air that meets the standards set for hospitals.
We clean our aircraft at every 'turn', that is, when the aircraft is on the ground. The cleaning follows a specific schedule and varies from lighter cleaning to regular power washes, and procedures have recently been made even more comprehensive. We have worked with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare to ensure our cleaning and disinfecting process is comprehensive.
If a flight is coming from an area where risks of infection or disease are known to be raised, that aircraft will receive a specific treatment.
Taking care of unwell customers
In the first instance, if a customer is not fit to fly due to being ill, we can’t accept them for travel. This is for the customer's own safety and protection, as the conditions up in the air can be challenging. The decision to not admit an unwell customer on one of our flights is always made by trained professionals. Our ground crew contacts a medical expert, who evaluates whether the customer is fit to travel or not.
All of our aircraft are equipped with an Infection Kit, hygiene equipment and a fully-trained crew. If a customer is suspected of being infected with an infectious disease or develops symptoms mid-flight, our crew will consult a medical expert. The customer will be seated as far as possible from other customers and will be asked to wear protective equipment. Our crew will consult a medical expert during the flight and inform the local health authorities at the destination.
Wherever possible, the customer suspected to be ill will be given exclusive use of one toilet, dedicated to their use for the remainder of the flight. In addition, the number of crew dealing with the unwell customer will be reduced to one, and this crew member will be properly protected.
Additional measures through service procedures
In the face of a known virus outbreak, our cabin crew will take extra measures on Finnair flights, to limit close contact between customer and crew. These include leaving lids and foils in place on in-flight meals and the use of plastic gloves during the whole drink and meal service, and for clearing meal services and cleaning.
Customers' own water bottles or containers will not be filled onboard, there will be no hot towel service and we make wet wipes available to customers with meal trays.
Bread service will be restricted to pre-packed rye bread on meal tray set-ups. In some cases, we may remove breadbasket service or deliver it with the use of tongs by cabin crew. We may also restrict service to individually packed products, and reduce the number of services to one per flight on trips under three hours. The Finnair crew may also use respiratory masks during duty, should they wish.
Guidance for people arriving in Finland
We make announcements in the plane for people arriving in Finland and tell them about the required quarantine. We also share guidance by THL (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare). The THL instructions state that people arriving in Finland are required to stay in conditions equivalent to quarantine for 14 days. Customers are also told how they can protect themselves and others from coronavirus. Finavia looks after the guidance shared at the airport.
What can customers do?
Good hand hygiene is still recommended as the number one method of preventing infectious diseases from spreading. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you have not washed your hands. If washing your hands is not possible, for example in-flight, and particularly when the seatbelt sign is illuminated, use hand sanitiser. For more information, see the World Health Organization’s guidance on hand washing.
You may also want to use a wipe with sanitiser to clean the surfaces that you touch frequently around your seat – for example the tray table, before you eat.
And, for your own safety and wellbeing, as well as for the wellbeing of your fellow travellers, do not travel if you are feeling unwell.