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Wealthy travelers flying on Blade -- a private aviation service that charters seaplanes, choppers and jets on demand -- will be mandated to take an oxygen-level test before taking off, the company announced.
It’s part of the New York City-based company’s new coronavirus-induced health and safety protocol outlined in a memo sent to fliers Tuesday. It says staffers, pilots and passengers will have to wear masks and take the oxygen-level checks with a pulse oximeter prior to boarding. Blade said in the memo no one with less than a 95 percent oxygen saturation will be permitted to fly.
The new rules come as doctors have reported that coronavirus patients have had oxygen levels as low as 50 percent compared to normal levels between 95 to 100 percent. Values under 90 percent are considered low.
All pilots, passengers and employees will also undergo contactless temperature tests, and Blade pilots and lounge employees will be required to wear sanitary gloves.
With commercial airlines such as American, Delta and United and a number of other global airlines suspending flights in recent months, the demand for private plane services has skyrocketed, particularly among high-net-worth individuals fleeing crowded cities to quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the luxury real estate rental market has also seen record growth since March, when the virus first broke out in the U.S.
Private commutes don't come cheap, however. A pack of 20 seats to fly Blade between Manhattan and the Hamptons costs $14,750.