Will air travel change going forward?
The coronavirus pandemic has halted a decades-long air travel boom and, according to experts, has changed forever how we fly, how much we will pay, and perhaps how safe we will feel. A few predictions from experts on what we can expect:
➢ More screening: The pandemic is going to revolutionize health protection and cleanliness procedures in airports and airplanes. Perhaps passengers will go through check-in, security and boarding without touching surfaces. That may involve voice-activated terminals, facial recognition or other biometrics, plus health screening.
➢ Arrival time: How does arriving at the airport FOUR hours before departure grab you? That gives you time for all the appropriate screenings and to pass through a disinfection tunnel before entry to the airport.
➢ Less luggage: It could be disinfected with fog or UV light, then “sanitagged”. Oh, and no carry-ons allowed.
➢ Rear-facing seats: In the short-term, we’ll see blocked off seats to allow for physical distancing. In the future, seat configurations could change, perhaps featuring middle seats facing backwards and plastic screens between passengers. (So it’s not ALL bad!)
➢ Higher fares, of course: The number of seats on commercial planes could fall to 50-60% of current configurations. That loss of revenue, plus the increased expenses of screening, sanitation and other precautions will significantly increase the cost of doing business for airlines, who already operate on razor-thin profit margins.