Cathay Pacific no masks

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In case there was ever any doubt that first-class airline passengers live in an entirely different world than those in economy, Cathay Pacific is really driving the point home. The Hong Kong-based airline has required all passengers to wear face masks since May, but now, according to Executive Traveller, it’s exempting first- and business-class passengers from the requirement when they have their seats reclined to a fully flat position.

The airline argues that the high enclosures around its business-class seats and first-class suites, and the extra personal space afforded by the seats, creates enough distance between travelers that face masks aren’t necessary.

A Cathay Pacific spokesperson confirmed the new regulation and said, “seats in first and business class are more spacious with partitions, and passengers are exempted [from wearing masks] when lying flat for sleep,” also noting that the plane’s filtration system is “capable of filtering 99.9999% of dust particles, including virus and bacteria.”

The exemption is a rather transparent attempt to draw more customers to the airline during this difficult time for the travel industry, particularly when it comes to booking more expensive seats.