Airline getting rid of face masks because customers complained they couldn't see cabin crew's faces

People really like seeing a smile.

An airline in Indonesia is reportedly changing its policies based off of negative customer reaction to the airline’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the airline is phasing out face masks because customers couldn’t see the faces of the cabin crew.

Irfan Setiaputra, president of Garuda, reportedly addressed the situation on a virtual call, where he said, “Many Garuda customers have complained about the flight attendants wearing masks as [the passengers] cannot see whether or not the [flight attendants] are smiling or frowning.”

Irfan Setiaputra, president of Garuda, reportedly addressed the situation on a virtual call, where he said, “Many Garuda customers have complained about the flight attendants wearing masks as [the passengers] cannot see whether or not the [flight attendants] are smiling or frowning.” (iStock)

Garuda Indonesia, the country’s flagship airline, has been requiring its employees to wear facemasks since resuming flights on May 7th, the Jakarta Post reports. Unfortunately, this apparently led to complaints from customers who said they could not see the cabin crew’s faces and couldn’t tell if they were smiling or not.

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Irfan Setiaputra, president of Garuda, reportedly addressed the situation on a virtual call, where he said, “Many Garuda customers have complained about the flight attendants wearing masks as [the passengers] cannot see whether or not the [flight attendants] are smiling or frowning.”

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In response to the complaints, the airline will no longer have the cabin crew wear face masks. Instead, the airline will reportedly gradually issue face shields, which will protect the crew and also allow travelers to identify the expression on their faces.

The change will not be immediate and crew members will still wear masks until the shields are supplied.

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Setiaputra explained the decision during the call, saying, “With this, human interaction on the plane can still occur, although minimized, and everyone can feel safe but also comfortable.”

He also explained that he did not want passengers feeling like they had stepped into "an ICU" when they boarded the plane, Today Online reports.