Qantas and Jetstar passengers will be issued with masks to wear during the flight and asked to keep their distance from one another in lounges, during boarding and once on board, under a stringent set of measures in place from June 12.
The 'Fly Well' program rolls together a number of temporary measures which have already been used by Qantas Group, including on repatriation flights from virus hot-spots, with the airline saying it "represents a combination of best-practice medical advice and feedback from customers."
Qantas says the program will "give peace-of-mind in preparation for domestic travel restrictions easing."
"We’re relying on the cooperation of passengers to help make these changes work for everyone’s benefit, and we thank them in advance for that," explains Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
"Given the great job Australians have done at flattening the curve, we’re confident they’ll respond positively to these temporary changes to how we fly.
However, the program's June 12 start date shouldn't be read as meaning that Qantas airport lounges will re-open from June 12 – a Qantas spokesman tells Executive Traveller that its lounges will open their doors on a lounge-by-lounge basis as demand returns.
Here's a look at how your Qantas travel experience will change in the short term.
Information on the Fly Well program will be sent to all customers ahead of their flight, so they know what to expect.
Contactless check-in using the Qantas app or online is being strongly encouraged, including self-serve bag drop and the use of Q Bag Tags.
Hygiene screens will be located at airline customer service desks "wherever practical", with hand sanitising stations will be located at all departure gates.
Changes to Qantas lounges
Physical distancing measures will be in place, although that's not likely to be a major issue in the early days of travel when there's expected to be far fewer passengers.
We're yet to learn if lounge seating will be re-arranged so as to encourage distancing, and if this in turn could mean stricter capacity limits imposed on lounges.
Hand sanitising stations will also be placed in the Qantas Club, Qantas Business and Chairman's Lounges.
The airline says there'll be "adjustments to food and drink service" – again, the details on this are yet to be shared.
Finally, staff will ensure "enhanced disinfection of surfaces".
On board Qantas and Jetstar flights
There'll be "sequenced" boarding and disembarkation to minimise crowding at departure gates and in the aisles
Masks will provided to all passengers on every flight: while not mandatory, "they are recommended to be worn in the interests of everyone’s peace-of-mind", the airline says
Although Qantas says all aircraft will be thoroughly cleaned between flights, passengers will also be given sanitising wipes so they can wipe down seat belts, trays and armrests for their own peace of mind.
Once on board, passengers will be asked to limit their movement around the cabin.
Travellers can also expect "simplified service and catering to minimise touchpoints for crew and passengers" – in other words, a limited meal and drinks service.
Enhanced cleaning of aircraft with a disinfectant effective against Coronaviruses, with a focus on high contact areas – seats, seatbelts, overhead lockers, air vents and toilets.
Middle seats won't be kept vacant
However, there are no plans to implement social distancing during the flight by blocking middle seats in economy.
"The data shows that actual risk of catching Coronavirus on an aircraft is already extremely low," suggests Qantas Group Medical Director Dr Ian Hosegood.
"That’s due to a combination of factors, including the cabin air filtration system, the fact people don’t sit face-to-face and the high backs of aircraft seats acting as a physical barrier."
“Social distancing on an aircraft isn’t practical the way it is on the ground, and given the low transmission risk on board, we don’t believe it’s necessary in order to be safe. The extra measures we’re putting place will reduce the risk even further."