PETALING JAYA, June 17 — Garuda Indonesia says their flight attendants will stop wearing face masks after they received numerous complaints from unhappy passengers.

The airline’s chief executive officer Irfan Setiaputra said people took issue with the fact that they could not see the flight attendants’ expressions while they were being served.

“Many of Garuda’s adult passengers have been complaining about our stewardesses wearing masks.

“(Because of the mask), the passengers cannot tell if they are smiling or frowning,” Irfan said during a webinar hosted by Bina Nusantara University yesterday.

Irfan added that the flight attendants would gradually switch to wearing face shields instead and interactions with passengers will be minimised to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

He said that getting on a flight should be a pleasurable experience and he did not want to make passengers feel “like they were in an intensive care unit (ICU).”

“We do not want passengers to board the plane feeling unhappy or stressed out, or thinking, ‘oh, is this an ICU?’ when they get on.

“Everyone wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), covered from head-to-toe, that’s not right.”

According to Garuda Indonesia’s website, the airline has implemented social distancing on its flights and both passengers and crew are currently required to wear a mask on board.

Health checks are also conducted on each crew member before every flight and all passengers have to undergo a polymerase chain reaction test to check for Covid-19 before embarking on their journey.

However, many were irked by Garuda Indonesia’s decision to ask its flight attendants to stop wearing face masks and questioned the airline’s priorities.

“The Garuda passengers who are against the stewardesses wearing masks must be old men,” said one Twitter user.

“Garuda Indonesia is going to stop requiring flight attendants to wear PPE because passengers complained that they can’t see if they are being served with a smile or with a frown.

“If that’s what they’re worried about, we got their smile right here,” tweeted another alongside a GIF of a woman slapping a man.