The future of airline travel: what can we expect?
4th June 2020
Airline travel the way we’ve been used to is all about to change and may not get back to our same level of travel expectations for 12-24 months.
Tim Davey, Managing Director of GMT predicts: “In the short term, travel will revert back to how it was in the early days of airline travel when only the elite traveled for leisure or business, or those flying were traveling out of absolute necessity.”
Airlines, along with their partner airports are on the same page as they anxiously await passengers to return to the skies, but the future of travel will come at a price as there is genuine apprehension amongst business and leisure travelers in terms of both convenience and cost.
Fewer flights, higher fares, increased security and health screenings, new boarding, and deboarding procedures – what does it all mean? Mr. Davey believes: “no one has all the answers but through good communication and reliable word of mouth experiences, confidence will be restored, and business will start to build again for the airlines and their partners.”
Here’s what we can expect once restrictions lift and borders reopen,
- A decrease in the number of direct flights on certain routes which means we may have no choice but to have a stopover. Expect longer layovers as well as all airlines are going to take longer in-between flights to deep clean their aircraft.
- As Government and global airline regulators encourage social distancing by asking airlines to leave seats empty, the average ticket price will increase.
- Expect more clear glass or plastic partitions between travelers and airport staff to keep travelers apart from check in agents, food vendors, currency exchange booths, shops, etc.
- Face masks are now required on all flights globally and you will likely be subjected to a temperature check using thermal scans which detect travelers with elevated body temperatures. Whether you have to wear your mask at all times onboard the flight will vary by airline and route flown.
- New strict boarding procedures where passengers may begin boarding from the rear of the aircraft to the front (even for the frequent flyers with traditional priority boarding). This should limit the amount of fellow travelers you have to bump into or graze by as you board.
- Likewise, when you go to debark, the debarking procedure will no longer be a “free for all” but an organized row-by-row procedure where a flight attendant will control traffic jams and ensure safe passage off the aircraft without bumping into and touching other passengers.
- It is irrefutable that better hygiene protocols will be in place for a very long time.
- Infight reading material apart from the safety brochures will be removed.
- On short-haul flights there will likely be an elimination of meals served on board.
- Onboard duty-free services will cease all in an effort to limit the flight attendants time to interact with passengers.
- Not all airlines but some are going to require a health document to be filled out upon check-in prior to boarding enquiring if you have had the virus previously, it will be a legal declaration document.
- If you are feeling unwell, don’t travel. The airlines and airport operators are being trained now to spot and question anyone who may look unwell. Much better for you to take the decision not to travel than to risk arriving at the airport only to be denied boarding.
- Some airlines will advise travelers in advance if a flight is going to be full and give you the option to move onto a different flight. This will be especially important on long-haul flights where due to the high cost of operating the flight, airlines will not practice social distancing onboard as much as they would do on their short-haul flights.
- Expect different aircraft to be used from what you are used to. Airlines will match demand with their new routes and timetables and place the most efficient aircraft on that route depending on the mathematics.
- Be prepared where possible that Video Conferencing may well replace business trips.
- Give yourself some extra time to get to the airport and board your aircraft. To reduce stress, plan to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours or more before your flight.
Mr. Davey concludes, “above all else, expect the unexpected, expect misinformation, expect new procedures and an element of confusion. At the end of the day, we hope that travelers continue to lean on their designated travel agent for accurate information and to instill trust in the new airline processes and regulations while traveling now, and into the foreseeable future.”Back to News