Philippine Airlines named among safest airlines for travelers during COVID-19


Philippine Airlines (PAL) has been named among the world’s top 10 safest airlines during the current coronavirus pandemic, according to a newly released database that looks at COVID-19 traveler health and safety protocols.

Of the over 150 airlines evaluated by Safe Travel Barometer, PAL was listed as the ninth safest for both travelers as of Friday, August 28, with a “Safe Travel Score” of 4.2 out of 5, a score held also by Hawaiian Airlines, Airasia Malaysia, and China Airlines.

At number one was Germany’s Lufthansa, which received a score of 4.5. At the end of the list was Saudi Arabia’s Nesma Airlines with a score of 1.

Cebu Pacific, another Philippine airline company on the comprehensive list, received a score of 3.2.

According to Safe Travel Barometer, the travel scores are based on an independent audit of over 20 factors related to air travel, including pre-boarding, boarding, and onboard experiences.

In addition to an overall safe travel score, the database provides information on whether airlines provide other protective measures like hand sanitizer, thermal screening, and face masks, or require a health declaration form.

PAL requires flyers to take a thermal screening, and asks passengers to bring their own hand sanitizer and face masks. No information on health declaration form requirements was provided on the database.

The database also provides information on other travel categories like airports, but does not assign travel scores.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu, Philippines, for example, provides hand sanitizer and requires passengers to go through thermal screenings and to bring their own face masks.

“The fundamental premise of Safe Travel Score is to benchmark travel brands’ initiatives to reduce traveller anxiety,” explained Virenda Jain, co-founder and chief executive officer of Safe Travel. “Our independent rating centered on traveler health and safety measures establishes a baseline for travel brands, while equally offering travelers a glimpse into what they can expect in their journeys.”

Philippine Airlines safety protocols

While travel to and from the Philippines has remained closed to most foreign travelers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PAL has continued to provide regular flights between the Philippines and the U.S. subject to changes.

As of August 15, domestic and international passengers of PAL are required to bring their own face shields, in addition to face masks, to be worn throughout their flights and inside airports.

According to the airline company, face shields must be of “good quality — clear and sturdy with a snug fit that covers the entire face.”

Face masks of any kind, including “do-it-yourself masks,” are sufficient, however, stricter guidelines are put in place for certain destinations.

Travelers flying to and from Hawaii, for example, are required to wear surgical masks while those flying to and from Auckland, New Zealand, are required to wear medical-grade masks like surgical masks or N95 respirators.

Failure to bring a mask or face shield will mean being turned away from their flights.

Infants up to 2 years old are exempt from the mask and face shield requirements.

Travelers are also asked to bring their own hand sanitizers and are allowed to bring up to 10 pieces of 100mL hand sanitizers with a maximum content of 70% alcohol as part of their carry-on.

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