In today’s world of lockdowns and social distancing, travel has been stopped in its tracks. Airlines are grounded, hotels are closed, and cruise ships are docked. When will travel start again? What will travel look like post Covid? Many experts are advising it could be as far away as October before we start to see holidaymakers jetting off for some Autumn sun. However, when travel does begin again, it will be very different to what we are used to. Read on below to find out what industry experts are predicting travel after coronavirus will look like…
Rapid COVID-19 Testing in Airports
Just this week Emirates announced that they are the first airline to begin rapid pre-flight COVID-19 testing. Tests are performed in the group check-in area, with results available in just 10 minutes. It is quite possible that temperature checks will also be introduced in airports all over the world.
In China, some aircrafts are now landing at intermediary airports for passenger health checks, before flying onto bigger cities. One would imagine that processes such as this will delay the boarding process, which may mean travellers will have to arrive even earlier for their flights.
Compulsory Masks When Flying
All passengers and crew could be told that they must wear masks in order to travel. Wizz Air has said it is looking into “all sorts of measures” for when the skies open back up, including protective gear for crew and passengers.
What will travel look like after Coronavirus?
Seat Sales to Encourage Travel
In the past, post SARS, 9/11 and the 2008 crash, all airlines introduced big sales to encourage bookings. Covid-19 is obviously a very different situation, but headline grabbing sales will stimulate demand.
Check out this Business Traveller interview with Richard Tams, Tailwind Advisory where he says “the promotions are going to be a combination of garnering people’s interest in flying again and capturing people’s imaginations for foreign parts and warmer climates.” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has also been quoted as saying, “The minute we’re about to start flying again we’ll start doing seat sales, and so will every other airline.”
High Airline Fares
When flight routes reopen, will airlines have to implement social distancing measures? If so, then this could result in airlines being forced to fly half-empty cabins. Some have suggested all middle seats will be blocked as a means of enforcing social distancing.
Once the initial seat sales have ended, travel industry experts have advised that these social distancing measures could result in airlines doubling the price of their tickets.
Gradual Opening of Routes and Destinations
Unfortunately, there is no switch which will turn every route back on and open every destination back up. This will be a gradual process which will be done in stages. Long haul routes will start at two to three times per week initially – daily frequencies will not happen for a long time.
Staycations and Short Haul
During the gradual removal of restrictions, people will want to stay close to home. Staycations and slow travel will be what most people opt for. For holidaymakers that are confident enough to travel by plane, short haul destinations will be very popular.
This trend is very evident in parts of Asia, where citizens are slowly returning to normal and starting to travel again.
Travellers may be required to present immunity certificates at the airport. The Tropical Medical Bureau Group, TMB (IE), Nomad Travel (UK), in association with pharmaceutical and vaccine partners, propose that guidelines in regard to an immunity certificate for COVID-19 must be developed urgently to allow policy makers and public health bodies provide a globally accepted certification of immunity.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Hotels, airlines, airports and cruise ships will all need to address their current cleaning and hygiene protocols and ask themselves “are we doing enough?”.
All areas that travellers interact with will need to visibly be cleaned to the highest standard to ensure the confidence and comfort of passengers and guests. Expect to see hand sanitiser everywhere you go.
Health Code Apps
Having an app on your phone which shows your health status and travel history could soon become the new norm. Millions of people in China are now using a ‘health code service’ app which can be scanned by authorities to show a person’s status.
Each status has a different colour – for example, a person with a green code can travel freely, a person with a yellow code should be at home in isolation (if they have just returned from travelling or have symptoms) and a person with a red code is a confirmed coronavirus patient and should be at home isolating.
Life will slowly return to normal, albeit a new normal, and people will start to travel again. What we do now determines how soon this new normal will arrive. So, stay home, stay safe and wash your hands! Are you currently working from home? Read our blog on ‘how to stay healthy at home’ here.