In my last post, I highlighted a few ways air travel will never be the same. From blood tests at airports to wearing a mask for the duration of your flight, things are going to be very different. That said, and as strange as it is to say, there will be some good things for travellers that come out of this. So let’s try and polish this turd of a situation we are all in and look at what positives might come out of post-pandemic travel.
No More Packed Planes?
Growing up, I remember flying between my hometown and the nearest city and being one of only a handful of people on the plane. Fast forward to pre-pandemic times and you’d be lucky to get a seat. We were very possibly at the peak of air travel and I gotta say, it wasn’t always great. Sure, we could find ridiculously priced airfares and had the freedom to travel far and wide, however, airlines worked hard to maximize profits and often sacrificed its client’s comfort. Over time, legroom was shortened to pack in more seats and other tactics were introduced to boost revenue ie. fees for everything, no more free meals etc…
On top of that, airlines would regularly oversell flights meaning your ticket did not actually mean you were always guaranteed a seat. Things got so bad that United Airlines actually dragged a passenger off a flight who thought this policy was wrong.
Yup. Things got pretty gross.
Well, a positive out of this situation is it may be a while until airlines see the kind of volume required to physically pull people out of their seats. Taking into consideration new safety and cleaning measures, airlines may take a bit to implement them. It may also be a while until the general public becomes complacent and comfortable. This will mean, in theory, a slow return to “normal” flight capacity. So, goodbye oversold flights, crowded airports, and long lines at security screening? Here’s hoping.
So Long Middle Seats?
On top of having fewer passengers on planes, there are rumours that middle seats may not be filled or removed altogether. How great would that be?? That said, as much as I hate rubbing elbows and feeling the hot breath from my fellow passenger as he snores on me, I am unclear on how you can properly social distance within a tin tube. This is definitely a perk comfort-wise though, and a welcomed one at that.
Does Post-Pandemic Travel Mean Cheaper Flights?
Even though in my post on the negative impacts this pandemic will have on ticket prices I speculated that we would be paying more, it may take a while to get there. Sites like Dollar Flight Club is showing shockingly great deals on flights in late 2020 and into 2021. The expectation is flights will be lower until restrictions and measures catch up or even until a vaccine is readily available. Until then, airlines are enticing people to purchase now and save.
There is, of course, a catch to this. You really need to understand your airlines Covid-19 and cancellation policies. Most airlines are only offering credit if a flight is cancelled. This is, however, being tested through various class action lawsuits. I honestly am not sure where I fall on this topic as I know airlines need the income to get through this pandemic. If refunds are issued it could mean we will see more airlines go bankrupt so…
Speaking of bankrupt airlines, that is another catch you should be aware of. If an airline does go out of business before your travel date, forget flight credit, you may not even get a refund. As such, I suggest understanding the policies or booking through points where possible as they seem to have better refund policies in place.
On top of all that, some airlines are even changing their policies to redefine what a cancelled flight actually means. In United Airlines cases (seems to be a pattern here ?), they are saying that a cancelled flight now means that if they can get you on a different flight within 6-hours of your cancelled flight, your flight was not cancelled. Wut?
This is just a tactic to limit the refunds they need to issue but good to highlight on why you need to understand the airline’s policies before you buy.
Is Low Tourism A Bad Thing?
In reality, it will take years for the travel industry overall to rebound. This may not be a bad thing.
I totally understand that many countries rely heavily on tourism dollars. That said, over-tourism has been a problem in many “Instagramable” locations for several years now. We truly were in an age of flying halfway around the world just to take a selfie. Lower tourism may help certain destinations breathe a little. I’m talking to you Barcelona, Iceland, Venice, Machu Pichu, and the Galapagos Islands.
The added bonus for post-pandemic travel is the ability to enjoy the destination with fewer guests and crowds. Given the added measures required to fly, hopefully, those that do will be taking more meaningful trips and spending their travel dollars in the local economies. Essentially, your selfie in front of the Spanish Steps in Rome is not essential. Go to a museum or the countryside instead. Read about the country’s history or eat some great food. Stop buying selfie-sticks and buy local produce and crafts. This is the travel world I want to live in.
Are There Environmental Benefits to Post-Pandemic Travel?
Another advantage of lower tourism numbers is the already noticeable effect it is having on the planet. There are stories of Venice canals clearing up, pollution in large cities completely down, and animals enjoying a little more breathing room. Hopefully, this will serve as a wake-up call and we will see a rise in sustainable, eco, and ethical tourism.
- READ MORE: 5 Places to Visit Before it’s Too Late
Where Will People Go First?
Speaking of local economies, one huge benefit to post-pandemic travel will be the uptick in domestic tourism. I am a huge advocate for pushing beyond your comfort bubble and experiencing new cultures and places. That said, I really hate hearing Canadian’s say that they forgo seeing their own country because it’s cheaper to fly to New York then it is to fly to Toronto.
This pandemic may just force people’s hand in exploring their own backyard a little. If travel restrictions remain, people will understandably travel within the province/state/country. I think this is a great way to dip your toes back into travel and help boost the local economy at the same time.
For my part, you see more local content (including my favourite places in Vancouver to eat!) as well as posts on road trips over the next year. This will work well with my upcoming side project, myevtrips.com, a blog about my upcoming electric vehicle adventures. Bookmark it and come along!
As you can see, the travel industry isn’t all doom and gloom. This pandemic should have some positive takeaways that make people think twice about how they travel and spend their travel dollars. That said, this isn’t to sugarcoat this situation we are all in. Things are going to be drastically different for a long time when it comes to travel. I’m just saying that it may not all be bad news.
What say you?
Thoughts on Post-Pandemic Travel? How will you travel differently?
Let’s hear it in the comments below!
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