How COVID-19 Could Change The Way We Travel
Many avid travellers may be wondering when we can start to travel again. While it is still unclear and uncertain when travel restrictions between the UK and other nations will be lifted, we can all agree that our air travel experience will no longer be the same.
Let’s take a look at how the COVID-19 could change the way we travel:
Longer Check-in Time
As a rule of thumb, travellers were encouraged to check-in at least two hours before departure. However, this might not be the case anymore. With social distancing measures in place, combined with extensive health check-ups and disinfection procedures, according to SimpliFlying, check-in time is expected to take up to four hours.
Here's a sneak peak of how Emirates have implemented physical distancing protocols during check-in at Dubai International Airport:
Image credit - Emirates
The boarding process is set to be completely revamped and is expected to become touchless as advanced technologies, as well as automation, will play a crucial role in the future of air travel.
We can anticipate plenty of vending machines being installed in airports from selling personal protective equipment to purchasing meals for travellers to consume on the ground or in the air.
To eliminate the need for passengers to stand in line while boarding the plane, travellers will need to be prepared in receiving notifications/text messages on their mobile phone when it’s time to board.
Airlines like British Airways, Qantas and EasyJet are adopting Biometric Boarding which allows passengers to board the planes with only their face as a passport.
Modified Inflight Services & Entertainment
Many airlines such as Singapore Airlines, have announced that they will be suspending meal services on some of their flights. Singapore’s National Carrier will instead be providing passengers with a bag containing water and refreshments upon boarding. It seems like there may no longer be a trolley service for food and/or drinks.
There’s also a possibility that touchscreen entertainment systems might be scrapped for future flights since they are seen as common contact surfaces that might increase transmission. Inflight magazines and other reading materials are also being removed to reduce the risk of spreading through touch.
➜ Related blog: How Inflight Rules Are Being Revamped By Airlines
Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines are some of the airlines that are keeping the middle seats vacant to maintain social distancing in the air.
On another hand, an Italian manufacturer of airline seats, Aviointeriors SpA, has shared two new concepts of seating arrangements of an aircraft for post COVID-19 travel.
Image credit - Aviointeriors SpA
- To ensure the maximum isolation between passengers seated next to each other, the first concept - Janus Seat, is a reverse positioning of the middle seat. In other words, passengers seating in the middle seat will be facing backwards to the direction of the flight.
Image credit - Aviointeriors SpA
- The second concept called Glassafe will consist of a transparent glass shield material around the passenger’s head which aim to minimize the likelihood of contamination by viruses or other.
Upon arrival, passengers will likely have to go through sanitising procedures, thermal scanners, COVID-19 test, before being allowed to clear immigrations and customs.
- Hong Kong has introduced mandatory COVID-19 test for all inbound passengers.
- Tokyo’s Narita International Airport requires testing for travellers arriving from high-risk countries such as Italy or the United States, however, results are said to take as long as two days. Click here for more information.
Furthermore, your checked baggage may also have to go through UV disinfection.
You might need more than just a passport. Government and organisations around the world are thinking about the utilisation of the highly debated Immunity Passport planned at easing pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions on movements.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against Immunity Passport as they felt that immunity had not yet been proven. In spite of what WHO is advising, few countries like Greece, Spain and Chile, have taken steps in establishing some kind of immunity documentation to attempt and safely open up its borders. Click here for more information about Immunity Passport in regards to COVID-19.