COVID-19 has changed air travel, and these are the changes we are tracking
“The world is now a global village.”
This is an often repeated saying about the interconnectivity of our world. Either it’s for business or vacation, we have travelled around the world more easily in the past few decades than in previous times. The airplane is a major technology that has made this possible. Journeys that would usually take months by sea; have been shortened into less than a day.
Unfortunately, the speed and ease with which our nations and economies are interconnected via air travel have made it easy for the COVID-19 pandemic to spread.
Almost 100% of index cases in countries that did not previously have a case of the Coronavirus were brought in by travellers who flew in by planes. Air travel is critical to the emergence of a post-COVID-19 world for two reasons:
- The rules will have to change to account for the control and prevention of the further spread of the virus, and its possible re-emergence in the future.
- Ironically, air travel is still very important and as economies begin to restart; emerging from quarantine and lockdown, the airline industry will play a key role in resuming global trade.
Immediate Impact Areas
To survive and excel in a post-COVID-19 world, it is important to understand what the future of air travel will look like. Here is all you need to know about the new normal in air travel.
You Must Read: How To Live Safe Everyday In A Covid-19 World
Higher costs: Since the beginning of the pandemic, airlines have had to take huge cuts in revenue. Plane ticket costs reduced drastically as aviation companies struggled with dwindling demand, crashing stocks, and empty airports.
As various countries and governments open up cautiously and demand slowly picks up again, it is expected that there might be a corresponding increase in the price of tickets to make up for lost time and income.
Social distancing in the clouds: Remember when you could meet a stranger sitting next to you, hit it off and become long term friends? Well, the probability of that happening again may be quite low.
You might not even have a next seat neighbour as airlines will try to put the mandatory social distancing on board to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Until new planes are designed and built, this will reduce how many passengers can be onboarded per flight, hence, as mentioned previously, more expensive flight tickets.
Budget more time for airport processes: Did you ever find your customs and immigrations checks stressful and time-consuming? We’re afraid it might get worse, at least initially. Apart from checking luggage and other formalities, there could be more to consider. Health checks: perhaps even a full Coronavirus test on the spot to determine travellers’ health status.
Flight attendants with a different look: Already, the world’s leading airlines are adopting policies of their flight attendants wearing, not just masks, but full Personal Protective Equipment. Sorry, but you may no longer see an air hostess’ bright smile welcoming you aboard.
Advanced tech: As time progresses, airports will include more advanced technology to enable contactless check-ins, luggage handling, and other processes. Do not be surprised to come across full decontamination booths and thermal scanners.
As these changes are implemented, it is hoped that travellers’ comfort will still be incorporated as much as possible given prevalent circumstances.