Airline Stops Flight Attendants From Wearing Masks After Passengers Complain About Lack of Smiles

Garuda Indonesia received "many complaints" about the issue

Garuda Indonesia airline introduces its newest aircraft, the Airbus A330-900 Neo wide-body fleet on Tangerang, Indonesia on November, 27, 2019. (Photo by Dasril Roszandi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Garuda Indonesia airline introduces its newest aircraft, the Airbus A330-900 Neo wide-body fleet on Tangerang, Indonesia on November, 27, 2019. (Photo by Dasril Roszandi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images
By Bonnie Stiernberg / July 11, 2020 8:26 am

Well, this is a new one: Indonesian airline Garuda Indonesia has announced it’s getting rid of face masks for flight attendants in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic after passengers complained they were unable to see the attendants’ smiles.

“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,” Garuda CEO Irfan Setiaputra said during a webinar last month.

Flight attendants were required to wear masks and gloves when the airline resumed service on May 7 after being grounded for some time due to COVID-19. Setiaputra stressed that while the company is looking at getting rid of masks so you can see their smiling faces, they are exploring other safety options, including plastic face shields.

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

As Business Insider points out, Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry currently requires flight attendants to wear masks and gloves while working flights unless they otherwise interfere with safety duties.

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