Taiwan’s China Airlines to cut down on inflight service amid coronavirus outbreak

End to hot meals and other measures limited to flights to and from Hong Kong and Macau

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China Airlines takes measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus. 

China Airlines takes measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan top carrier China Airlines (CAL) and its affiliates Mandarin Airlines and Tigerair Taiwan will stop offering hot meals, cushions, blankets and newspapers on flights to and from Hong Kong and Macau Tuesday (Jan. 28) in an effort to reduce the risk of coronavirus.

The new measures announced Monday (Jan. 27) followed cancellations of flights between Taiwan and China as travel between the two countries ground to a standstill due to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) expanding out of Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei.

The intention of CAL was to limit unnecessary contact which might lead to the transmission of the virus, and to reduce repeated use of certain objects on board, CNA reported. The airline also encouraged passengers to bring their own thermos bottles on board.

The disinfection of aircraft would be expanded to include passengers’ foldable tables, armrests and overhead luggage compartments, CAL said.

The hot meals will be replaced by single-use lunchboxes or food inside paper bags, with only vegetarians still eligible to receive special meals on the flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong or Macau.

Beverage service and headphones to listen to the onboard entertainment system would be provided on demand, the airline said.

According to the CNA report, the sale of tax-free products on board will be moved online.

There was no timetable to end the measures, while at present no other routes would be affected by the changes, according to CAL.