As the world slowly emerges from months of restrictions, passenger air travel is set to resume soon. However, the experience of traveling will likely be very different in the era of social distancing and medical tests. As airlines begin resuming their flights, what will passenger travel look like in the near future? We look at what you can expect and what the new normal now looks like…
WHAT TO EXPECT
Passengers can expect a very different experience depending on their airline and route. In general, international flights attract a lot more safety measures than shorter domestic routes.
EasyJet will require customers to wear face coverings and they will be expected to provide their own. When flights restart, no food will be available on board and customers will have hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes provided.
EasyJet has said that its aircraft would also be subject to “enhanced cleaning and disinfection”.
“These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely as the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.” Watch the EasyJet short video that explains what you will see when embarking an EasyJet flight here: https://www.youtube.com/user/easyJet
They recommend wearing face masks, physical distancing of 1.5m where possible in airports and washing hands often. Some airlines are said not to be enforcing the mandatory mask rule, while others refuse to board passengers without one.
They stopped short of calling for social distancing on planes due to the confined space but added that other measures should always be followed.
Meanwhile, airlines are providing their flight crews with personal protective equipment (PPE) and even redesigning uniforms altogether. This has been done since flight crews remain at a high risk of infection due to contact with multiple passengers. The presence of cabin crew in full PPE will likely be a bit shocking as you board your first flight in months.
At the airport, this translates into spaced out check-in and security queues. Several airports have added stickers on the floors to mark where individuals must stand to maintain social distancing. Aside from spaced out lines, passengers can also expect certain amenities, such as lounges, to remain closed or to operate with reduced service.
MEDICAL TESTS TO BECOME THE NORM
Until such time that we have a coronavirus vaccine, passengers can expect medical tests to remain in place. These measures range from simple temperature checks to full coronavirus tests on arrival. However, as countries hope to save their tourism industries, they are looking at alternatives to lengthy quarantines.
Nearly all countries have instituted some form of travel restrictions, mainly affecting leisure travellers. Those who can still travel are required to be quarantined for up to two weeks, either in their residence or in a government facility. In order to restart tourism, countries will have to institute faster medical tests to determine the safety of a traveller.
For the next few months, all passengers can expect a drastically different experience than we were used to before the pandemic. From masks to social distancing, travel will likely be a lot different than before.
However, as countries try to revive their economy, we will see more innovative solutions appear to keep passengers safe and traveling.
Until such time that we have a coronavirus vaccine or effective treatment, we can expect these measures to remain in place. Some measures might even outlive the coronavirus, such as thorough aircraft cleaning (which is great). Travel may not be the same for the coming months, but we hope it will return to its former glory sometime soon.