'Anyone that thinks differently needs to walk a mile in our shoes'
Air Canada employees are growing concerned over the airline’s handling of passengers afflicted with COVID-19. Many are afraid they face a higher risk of exposure than what they were previously told.
Canada’s largest carrier maintains, passengers who exhibit symptoms are barred from boarding the plane and that all of its aircraft are sanitised in between flights using “hospital-grade disinfectants”.
But, as one employee told The Guardian, not all planes are given the same deep cleaning. “A lot of stations don’t have the manpower,” the source said.
“Flight attendants come into contact with a lot of things,” said Wesley Lesosky from the Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “They need sufficient protection.”
Air Canada flight attendants are also reportedly excluded from the two-week self-isolation protocol that international travellers must follow upon entering Canada.
Being “well trained and prepared to protect” themselves, employees are instead given hand sanitisers, masks and gloves, the company said in a memo this month, according to The Guardian.
Cabin crew, in general, “are not considered to be at risk for transmission,” said Dr. Jim Chung, Air Canada’s chief medical officer. However, a total of four employees have so far tested positive for COVID-19.
“We are at the HIGHEST risk of getting sick in those airplanes,” an employee said in a Facebook group for flight attendants, which was seen by The Guardian. “Anyone that thinks differently needs to walk a mile in our shoes.”