The big picture: With passenger traffic down 95% at the height of the pandemic, airlines have practically given up trying to save the lucrative summer travel season. The global industry plans to lose $ 314 billion this year, and airline executives say it could take two to three years before air transportation returns to its pre-crisis level.
In the meantime, be patient with your mask: everything will take longer.
- Expect new procedures for everything from baggage check-in to security clearance and boarding.
- You may even need to have your blood tested to prove that you are in good health before boarding.
- “September 11 completely changed the trip with additional security checks and longer check-in times. The impact of COVID-19 on air travel will be even greater, “said Shashank Nigam, airline consultant and CEO and founder of SimpliFlying, in a blog article.
The big question: How much hassle will people tolerate or completely avoid stealing?
What is happening: At the moment, the flights are practically empty, which makes it easier to spread out for social distancing.
- Despite a $ 50 billion taxpayer-funded relief program, airlines say they will have to cut back to meet falling demand. As they consolidate their flights, the planes will fill up again.
- Jet Blue Airways and United Airlines say they will require passengers to wear face masks, and others say they will make them available. (Flight crews already wear masks on many airlines.)
- US Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), President of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, wants the FAA to make masks mandatory for everyone.
- Airlines also say they will limit ticket sales so that the middle seats can stay open.
Masks and social isolation are just the beginning. In a new report, “The Rise of Sanitized Travel,” SimpliFlying predicts dozens of ways that air travel may change in the months and years to come. Some examples:
- Online registration: In addition to choosing their seat or paying for checked baggage, passengers may also need to download a document to confirm the presence of COVID-19 antibodies before flying.
- Airport edge: Passengers may be required to arrive at least four hours before their flight and to go through a “disinfection tunnel” or thermal scanner to check their temperature before being allowed to enter the airport.
- Bag registration and removal: New contactless kiosks would allow passengers to check in by scanning a barcode or using gestures or voice commands. The agents are said to be behind Plexiglas shields and the bags are disinfected and then “disinfected”.
- Checkup: Passengers would undergo a health examination and could even have their blood tested. In April, Emirates became the first airline to conduct rapid on-site COVID-19 tests of passengers before boarding.
- Security: Each carry-on baggage and security bin would be disinfected upon entry into the X-ray machine, using misting techniques or UV rays, and then “disinfected”.
- Boarding: Passengers should be present one hour before departure, maintain a social distance in the boarding area and embark only when they receive individual notifications on their smartphone to avoid congestion in the jet bridge.
- In the plane: The pre-flight safety video may include sanitation procedures as passengers wipe their seats and trays. In-flight magazines will be deleted, file pockets emptied and passengers will likely use their own devices to watch videos. An in-flight concierge could keep toilets and other high-contact areas disinfected after passenger use.
What to watch: Designers like Aviointeriors in Italy are considering new seating arrangements or barriers between seats to minimize the risk.
- Imagine the middle seat facing the other, for example, with clear barriers between the passengers.
At the end of the line: If this seems difficult to understand, remember this: we never imagined having to take our shoes off before going through airport security.