Passengers skip airplane toilet breaks on COVID-19 fears: Cebu Pacific

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 24 2020 12:48 PM

MANILA - Health conscious passengers deliberately avoid using rest rooms in planes for fear of contracting the coronavirus, Cebu Pacific said Friday, as continued uncertainties in the aviation industry loom.

Although an "extensive" disinfection protocol was put in place, and lavatories are cleaned every 30 minutes, Cebu Pacific observed that passengers are not using toilets as much, its vice president for marketing and consumer experience Candice Iyog told reporters in a virtual meeting.

"Passengers are not using the lavatories much because they're being careful or scared," Iyog said. 

Cebu Pacific has resumed domestic flights last June 3, after Metro Manila and other key areas in the country emerged from an 11-week lockdown.

Cebu Pacific personnel disinfects surfaces and lavatories often to protect passengers from COVID-19. Photo: Cebu Pacific

Heightened disinfection practices are just part of Cebu Pacific's measures to give travelers "peace of mind," she said.

Travel fund has been extended for up to 2 years, while free unlimited rebooking has also been extended after passengers were forced to rebook repeatedly due to local travel restrictions and government requirements, among others, Iyog said.

"We’ve seen that people saying I’ve rebooked my flight 5 times… just to make it simpler, free unlimited rebooking where change fees are waived. All of these policies are extended to end November," she said. 

Iyog further allayed fears in flying by assuring the public that cabin air was safe since the aircraft has "hospital grade" HEPA filters and that air is refreshed every 3 minutes.

Global planemaker Airbus earlier said the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very low due to its filtration system, among others.

Cebu Pacific also ensures that all pilot, cabin crew and ground staff are COVID-19 negative before every flight. The airline uses FDA-approved rapid test kits, Iyog said. 

All staff on board are also wearing full protective equipment such as face mask, face shield, gloves and gown, she added.

"Were constantly trying to find ways to allow people to either book or rebook and travel with a little peace of mind," Iyog said.