Personally, I love to fly. The glamour of being whisked away to some far corner of the globe or even the next state has always provided a sense of exhilaration as I learn about the ways of life at a new destination. Unfortunately, due to the ever annoying presence COVID-19, many airlines are reducing the number of flights per day, international and domestic. While it is obvious that this is merely due to a lowered economy and the decrease in passengers due to the pandemic, many airlines are retaining an optimistic stance on the future of airline travel post-COVID. Many economists and airline executives are confident that as covid dies down, many people will begin to travel-albeit hesitantly-to visit relatives and friends. Domestic travel for leisure will rapidly increase, followed by international and finally business. While these are lovely thoughts to be thinking, many companies say that they will still be taking precautions, as to ensure the safety of their passengers, with many saying that for better or for worse, covid is and will definitely change the future of airline travel.
First let's talk about the future of safety in the airline industry. As we all know a small yellow lifejacket and brase positions cannot shield us from COVID, and this is why in light of the pandemic, many airlines in and out of the US have begun to implement precautions to reduce the risk of infection. In an article by CNN travel, author Paul Sillers goes into an in depth analysis about how change will be affected from the moment you take off, till the moment you land: “In the new era of flight, we can expect personal protective equipment (PPE) to be integral to the passenger experience as airlines are beginning to demand -- rather than request -- their use .European airlines Lufthansa, Air France and KLM have made mask-wearing compulsory for passengers and crew. In the United States, Delta, United, American Airlines and JetBlue have introduced similar measures. Air Canada has mandated their use since April 20.”(Sillers) Passenger safety is also not the only precautions being made. Mr. Sillers goes on to explain that on several airlines in the middle east such as Qatar Airlines and Emirates, PPE suits are being distributed to flight attendants who come into contact with passengers most frequently throughout the journey. Along with the implementations that have been made regarding masks, mr. Shall continues in the article by mentioning numerous ways that airport terminals are staying sanitary, and it is precautions like these, from the baggage claim to the plane you fly in that are setting a president for the future of air travel not only after the pandemic, but for years to come.
While precautions are being taken to ensure that flying is safe during and after the pandemic, the truth is that many are still boarding flights to new domestic locations, making it wise to look at exactly what type of flying is and will be done post-pandemic and how this will affect the airlines from an economic viewpoint. In an article by Insider, author Sophie-Claire Hoeller brings to light the mentality of numeros civil aviation executives and their view point, as well as the mentality of the civilian and their natural urge to travel. In her article, Mrs. Hoeller cites a study taken by 2,500 people in which they were asked if they were planning to travel domestic, even during the pandemic, a whopping 58% said yes, a phenomenon that trip advisor to Insider said was evidence of “People's desire to travel”(Hoeller). This is precisely why many executives believe that domestic air travel for leisure will not be hit hard. What concerns many executives is the number of business flights (flights that carry a large number of traveling members of any business) as well as flights that will travel internationally. In an article by forbes, Nick Careen, Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had this to say about the concerns: “Initial travel could be for leisure purposes – particularly to reconnect, or to reunite families. This is the experience observed in some countries where travel restrictions have been loosened. In the Northern Hemisphere, the peak summer holiday season may also induce some initial leisure travel, to the extent that borders are reopened and travel is possible. Indeed, for some – possibly many – the health risks will remain paramount even where the virus appears to have been contained. Leisure travellers may be reluctant to travel at all, or may seek alternative modes of travel for a period until they are confident that the health risks have diminished. Rising unemployment might also be a factor for some potential leisure travellers. These could all be reasons why survey respondents pointed to the recovery in business travel.” (Leigh) Further on in the article, Mr. Careen offers a rebuttal to these claims stating that “eventually businesses will need to get their people out into the world, and meet face to face, despite all the technology we have available to meet from home. “While businesses have managed through the crisis period with videoconferencing and other technological solutions, there is no substitute for being able to conduct face-to-face business meetings and to build professional relationships.”(Leigh)
Ladies and Gentlemen. This concludes our brief article explaining the specifics of airline travel during and after the COVID pandemic. We please ask that you remember: no matter where you were,are or are going to, please stay safe. Remember: There is always the possibility of a better tomorrow, what can you do to make it a reality?