It’s funny how you can live through the golden age of something and not realize you’re in it. That’s how I feel about air travel pre-pandemic. Prices were low, ridership was high, and the world was just a few clicks away. Ironically, it’s this accessibility that helped Covid-19 spread far and fast. As such, air travel changes are undoubtedly on the way and will affect how we travel for years to come. As airport and boarders begin to open up, things will be very different. Here are five air travel changes that may become the new normal when it comes to airports, aeroplanes, and the countries that let them in.
A relatively fast and effective way to screen people for fevers is by scanning their temperatures. This air travel change could/and should be implemented at immigration as well as at check-in or before boarding. I have experienced this in Asian countries and was surprised that it was not implemented in North America as the pandemic spread. I flew through the States in early March as the situation was starting to unfold. Erin was concerned and question if I should be flying. I was convinced there would be staff taking peoples temperatures with a temperature gun and told Erin not to worry. To my surprise, I did not see any of this.
Turns out, science is not on the side of temperature screening. There has been little evidence it has prevented the spread of infectious diseases. That said, at minimum, I think this air travel change will bring greater awareness and make people think twice about flying if feeling under-the-weather. As such, I see this being automated and implemented and most airports.
Bloodwork Before You Fly
Taking it a step further, Emirates Airlines has already started taking passengers blood before boarding! This certainly is next level but a good indication of just how serious things are. If proven a successful measure against spreading the virus, a pin-prick may just become as normal as showing photo ID post 9/11.
Masks for All
Speaking of new normal, having a facemask from check-in to luggage collection may be mandatory. Canada has already enforced passengers to bring their own face coverings and has mandated that airlines provide PPE to their staff. Some airlines in the states are even heading out masks before boarding.
This is very much a minor inconvenience however, it is not something I am looking forward to…at all. I am in the minority of those that see air travel as more than a way to get from A to B. I review business class products and enjoy the food and drink that comes along with it. That said, spacing may play a factor and the mask may only be required if you are within 6 feet of another passenger or employee.
Once a vaccine is ready, it will be highly likely that immigration officials around the globe will require proof you have received it. Similar to Yellow Fever certification that is required in many African countries, travellers will need to prove they have been vaccinated or face denial upon entry.
Although there are plenty of great flight deals floating around right now, we have likely seen the end of discount air travel for some time. Airlines are looking for anything to keep them afloat however, many airlines (like South African Airlines) may not survive come your travel day. It may take a while to hit the number of travellers in the air pre-pandemic. Airlines may need to charge more to keep business afloat and planes in the air.
Because of this, I would proceed with caution when booking that cheap airfare right now. If an airline goes bankrupt there may be no refund for you. Keep this in mind and, where possible, book with points instead of as their cancellation and refund policies are a little more lenient and forgiving.
What say you?
Thoughts on these Air Travel Changes? Does it affect how you will be booking your next holiday?
Let’s hear it in the comments below!
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