KLM to pick up travelers stranded in Hong Kong & Seoul; cabin crew worried about safety

KLM will be flying from Hong Kong to Amsterdam at 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, local time. The airline has been granted an exemption from the Dutch aviation authorities for the landing ban that applies to flights from the Chinese city, the Consulate General in Hong Kong announced. Dutch and residents of other EU or Schengen countries stuck in Hong Kong are advised to contact the Dutch airline, the Telegraaf reports. 

The newspaper also said that KLM is flying two final flights from Seoul, South Korea this week. The first will be on Tuesday, the second on Thursday, and both flights may be booked on KLM's website.

Cabin crew members of various airlines are deeply concerned about the risks of flying, especially on repatriating flights filled with passengers. "People are afraid," Chris van Elswijk of the Dutch Cabin Crew Association said to Hart van Nederland. "People are concerned about the distance and contact moments with passengers."

According to Van Elswijk, who is a purser for KLM, cabin crew members are trying to stick to the government guidelines of staying 1.5 meters from others, but that is not always possible. "If you work in a full aircraft with 300 passengers, you cannot meet the guidelines that are set," he said. 

Airlines are working on measures to increase the safety of passengers and crew, he said. KLM, for example, adjusted the onboard service schedule so that there is less physical- or close range contact between passengers and crew. And if crew members do not want to fly on a certain flight, their employers are open to discuss their concerns and alternatives, he said.

Because halting all air traffic is not yet an option, Van Elswijk said to Hart van Nederland. "There are still many Dutch people abroad. They still have to be picked up."