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Why don't airlines place some physical separator between passengers in the planes to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

A bit like the following, but adapted for cabins and viruses:

enter image description here

(image source)

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    $\begingroup$ Because a face mask is many, many times cheaper, much quicker to deploy, doesn't add any significant weight and doesn't restrict passenger movement (for example during an evacuation). $\endgroup$ Aug 21 '20 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ @expeditedescent thanks, I was thinking it could be in addition to masks, but downsides noted. $\endgroup$ Aug 21 '20 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure I saw such a question few weeks ago but I can't remember if it was on travel.SE or on aviation.SE. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Aug 21 '20 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ Also note how much "elbow room" there is in that image. In my experience, at least, that's about 2 economy seats. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 22 '20 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Good lord. I wouldn't be caught dead in that thing. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Aug 22 '20 at 17:26
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  1. Cost. Those would be expensive, and the business is bad already. Now, you might think that just any mesh, fabric or membrane would do, but but to be effective against the sperad of viruses, nope.
  2. Discomfort. Imagine how it would feel to be bagged up like that for hours. Again, despite the membrane being a "breathing" sort, it would still get rather hot and huimid inside that contraption very quickly.
  3. Restrictiveness. Imagine an evacuation situation with people in those. Very dangerous, not gonna work.

Masks are very effective, cheap, and people are quite willing to use them (excluding some mentally challenged cases). The ventilation in planes is also rather safe when considering the spreading of viruses (see this ASE Q&A), especially when combined with the use of masks. Planes usually have very good filtering of recycled air, and much of the air is not even recycled.

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  • $\begingroup$ 4. Time for evacuation would have to be retested $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Aug 22 '20 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ 5. Need. Planes get new air every 60-90 sec. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Aug 24 '20 at 3:28

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