Premium masks for premium flyers: Etihad Airways will give first and business class passengers reusable, antimicrobial face coverings

  • Etihad Airways will give its first and business class passengers reusable "snood-style" face masks on all flights.
  • The antimicrobial masks are not available in coach, but economy passengers can still request a disposable mask as part of a kit including gloves and hand sanitizer.
  • Passengers flying to or through Etihad's Abu Dhabi hub are required to get a negative COVID-19 test within 96 hours of travel.
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COVID-19 may not recognize society's distinctions between the haves and have nots, but airlines still do. And in the midst of a pandemic, Etihad Airways has created a new perk for those flying first or business class: a nicer face mask. 

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier said it will distribute soft, reusable "snood-style" face masks to all first and business class passengers. According to Etihad, the masks are treated with a "MicrobeBARRIER" antimicrobial treatment to help prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Etihad will provide economy passengers with a disposable mask upon request, as part of a kit that also includes gloves and hand sanitizer.

"Travelers can choose to wear the snood around their neck like a scarf and when in close proximity to others, pull it up over their mouth and nose to protect themselves and those around them," the airline said in a press release.

It was not immediately clear whether the airline was referring to pulling the mask down during a flight, or afterward. Masks must typically be worn at all times when in enclosed public spaces — such as airplanes — in order to be effective. And Etihad does require passengers to wear face masks during flights. 

The airline also requires travelers to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 96 hours of travel whenever they fly to or through the airline's Abu Dhabi hub. Passengers originating in Abu Dhabi only require a test if they are traveling to a European Union country, as well as Switzerland or the UK.

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