Many countries are slowly opening up their economies. Soon, air travel will be possible for us who are itching to be in a new environment. However, the new normal in air travel may not be as convenient as before. Safety precautions will surely intensify in order to prevent spreading the virus. Strict measures for cleanliness are already implemented. Expect temperature checks to be part of the routine too.
Our world is continually changing. We need to adapt. Transportation and travel in general will never be the same. Going to the airpot and flying a plane will be a much different experience from now on. Several guidelines can keep travelers stay healthy and safe throughout the experience. Here are some ways on how it will change.
The airline industry has been in a slump due to the pandemic. Only major airline companies will be able to survive in these conditions. But staying in business remains a challenge if they don’t attract customers to fly again.
Many travelers are still hesitant to pursue air travel. Customer confidence can be boost through cheap fares and passenger safety measures. Those bored or brave enough may take advantage of low fares. However, these offers may not last long. The implementation of more measures to ensure customer safety in airports and the airplane itself will mean added costs for airline companies.
Stricter Airport Safety Measures
Expect strict moderation of airport activity in the new normal. This is to ensure cleanliness and personal safety of all passengers. Here are some changes that you can expect when you arrive at the airport:
- Waiting areas outside the airport
- No mask, no entrance policy
- Face masks are required at all times
- Temperature checks at entrances (thermal scans)
- Hand sanitizers at interaction points (e.g., ticket counter, baggage counter, etc.) and public places
- Checkpoints will have transparent barriers (e.g., baggage counters, check-in/check-out counters, etc.)
- Except for very small or light bags, baggage check-ins will be encouraged
- Regular disinfecting schedules
- Social distancing signages and monitoring
- Lounges may remain closed to avoid people gathering closely
- Quarantine area (for further testing of persons who have higher temperatures)
- Social distancing in shuttle buses
To lessen contact, digital boarding passes thru online check-in will be encouraged. Expect everyone to be wearing face masks and maybe even full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Inflight Safety Measures
Air travel safety measures will surely be amped up. Expect these changes when you board your plane.
- Medical evaluation before and after flight assignments for all crew members
- Flight crew in full PPE (masks, face shields, gloves and PPE uniforms)
- No mask, no fly policy will be imposed
- Passengers will walk through a disinfection tent/mats when boarding the plane
- Thermal scans and social distancing procedures will be observed
- All passengers should keep their face masks on during the flight
- Hand washing practices will be strictly observed
- Meals will be served in secure packaging to minimize contact
- Passengers will be seated one seat apart from each other
- Scheduled disinfection, especially for longer flights
All these measures may make you feel like you are sitting in a hospital instead of in an airplane. It is better to be extra careful than to suffer dire consequences.
Cabin Safety & Cleanliness
One of the reasons why we may opt out of air travel is cabin cleanliness. This issue is now on top of the industry’s agenda as one way to ensure safety and attract customers to fly once more.
Airplanes are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that remove particulate and bacterial contamination. These deliver the same air quality as a hospital operating room. They utilize 50% filtered air and 50% outside air in continuous circulation around the cabin. That amounts to about 20-30 air changes in the cabin per hour or air changes every 3-4 minutes. The direction of air flow is also from top-down. This limits the spread of the virus.
Having gaps in between passengers ensures minimal contact. For economy class passengers, this will feel like being in business class. The high seat back also gives added protection. Plus, with your mask on for added safety, airplanes will be relatively safe to travel in.
Expect More Adjustments
Airline companies will be constantly observing and evaluating these procedures. Expect to find new modifications to these procedures and requirements for safer air travel as the industry tries to adapt to the new normal. If you are not ready for air travel yet, a road trip is a good option for a change of scenery.
In the meantime, do your part to ensure your own health and safety. Don’t forget to prepare safety and health care essentials for your household. Whenever you are out and about, continue wearing your mask, use your hand sanitizer to disinfect and practice proper hand washing.