An airline will stop flight attendants from wearing face masks after passengers complained they couldn't see their smiles

  • Garuda Indonesia, the nation's national flag carrier, plans to stop letting flight attendants wear face masks after passengers complained that they couldn't see flight attendants smiles.

  • According to The Jakarta Post, the airline is looking into other options, such as plastic face shields, to replace the masks.

  • Flight attendants will continue to wear masks in the meantime. Indonesia's transportation ministry requires cabin crewmembers

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 Garuda Indonesia's Boeing 737
Garuda Indonesia's Boeing 737.

Dita Alangkara/Associated Press

The Indonesian national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is planning to drop face masks for flight attendants after passengers complained that they couldn't see the cabin crewmembers' smiles.

Video: Flight attendants explain how COVID-19 has affected their jobs

According to Indonesian newspaper The Jakarta Post, the airline has received numerous complaints from passengers who said the flights felt less hospitible.

Garuda had temporarily grounded flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed some flying on May 7. Flight attendants were required to wear masks and gloves while on board as part of a health protocol.

"Many Garuda customers have complained about the flight attendants wearing masks as [the passengers] cannot see whether or not the [flight attendants] are smiling or frowning," Garuda CEO Irfan Setiaputra said in during a webinar on Tuesday, according to The Jakarta Post.

Irfan said that the airline would consider plastic face shields instead.

"With this, human interaction on the plane can still occur, although minimized, and everyone can feel safe but also comfortable."

According to the Post, Irfan later clarified that the airline was exploring several options, including the face shields.

Indonesia's Transportation Ministry requires flight attendants to wear masks and gloves to prevent transmission of the virus unless they otherwise interfere with safety duties, according to the Post.

Ifran took over as CEO in January, a month after former CEO Ari Askhara was fired over accusations that he used a newly delivered Airbus jet to smuggle a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and two Brompton foldable bikes from France to Jakarta, evading up to $106,000 in taxes.

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