Post COVID-19: What Will Travel Look Like?

By | May 23, 2020

Airlines may resume operations soon, but with no vaccine in sight, travelling will not be the same anymore. Let’s look at some of the ways travel will change post COVID-19. 

Should You Get An Annual Travel Insurance Plan

Airlines will resume operations from May 25, but with no vaccine in sight and the number of COVID-19 cases spiralling out of control, travel has come to a standstill for nations across the world. The travel and tourism industry was the first to be hit by the impact of COVID-19. Massive layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts were some of the measures companies took to stay afloat and weather their losses. One thing is for certain. Travel will never be the same once this blows over. When the govt. gave the mandate to resume flight operations, it published a set of strict guidelines that airlines as well as passengers will need to follow to ensure safe and responsible travel. What are the ways in which travel will change post COVID-19? Let’s take a look:

A Slow Return

Most industry experts are of the opinion that for things to go back to the normal state, it will easily take the remainder of this year and the travel suspension could probably even spill over to 2021. This could mean that people will restrict their travel to local destinations alone for some time. Airlines will have to really push the envelope if they have to restore confidence among travellers to resume air travel. Travelling to local destinations would mean vacations would also become shorter with people preferring long weekend stays and driving down to destinations instead of flying. Road trips may become the new favourite as people will have more control over their environment and less contact with strangers.

Airports are likely to experience a steep downward trend in footfall with people travelling mostly for work or emergency. They will also close down common areas like smoking room, prayer room etc. Web check-ins are going to become mandatory before boarding flights.

Additional Reading: What To Do With Your Travel Fund If COVID-19 Has Derailed Your Trip

Personal Protective Equipment

In the post-COVID world, PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) are likely to become an essential part of the passenger experience. Some airlines like Lufthansa, KLM, and Air France have made mask-wearing mandatory for passengers and crew. In Asia, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia and Cathay Pacific have also made masks mandatory. Suppliers to airline companies may soon start designing complete kits that include a mask, gloves, hand sanitiser, alcohol wipes and an info leaflet with tips on how to prevent the virus spreading. In India, passengers are likely going to be donning masks and face shields before boarding their flights. Cabin crew and pilots will will be wearing full body PPE including body suit apart from security staff from CISF.

Additional Reading: Your Ultimate Guide To COVID-19 Personal Loans

Cleanliness: The New Order

Even though flights have resumed, airports are going to remain desolate for some time now. While airport staff will have their work cut out in terms of keeping the airport premises squeaky clean, planes will be sanitised thoroughly too after each flight. Companies are rapidly revolving technologies that will help airports leave physical contact out of the equation. For instance, a contactless voice-activated kiosk for monitoring passengers’ temperature, heart and respiratory rates before check-in is being developed in partnership between Etihad Airways and Australian company Elenium Automation, and is undergoing tests at Abu Dhabi Airport. The technology is an early warning indicator that will help identify symptoms that can be assessed by medical experts to help prevent further contagion.

The system automatically suspends the self-service check-in or bag-drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness.
At Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), authorities are trying out a set-up called CleanTech which is a full-body disinfection facility. In it, passengers and airport staff undergo a temperature check before entering an enclosed channel for a 40-second sanitising procedure, using “photocatalyst” and “nano needles” technologies.
In another initiative at HKIA, invisible antimicrobial coatings that destroy germs, bacteria and viruses are being applied to high-touch surfaces in the terminal such as kiosks, counters and trolleys.
Hong Kong’s airport is also testing autonomous Intelligent Sterilisation Robots equipped with ultraviolet light sterilisers that roam the airport, disinfecting passenger facilities.

New Standards For Hotels

When people do resume travel, they are going to be pretty cautious at first. Reputed hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton have announced stringent hygiene measures to boost confidence among guests. Hotels will need to think of novel ways by which they can introduce hygiene and safety guidelines like for instance, digitising check-in, reducing paper material, and reducing the number of guests to facilitate social distancing. Enhanced sanitation measures like placing hand sanitisers at entrances to the restaurants, elevators, spa, and in restrooms, frequent disinfection of the elevator control panel and staircase handrails, deep cleaning of kitchen areas and buffet tables, and the provision of masks and gloves upon request may soon become the norm.

Travel in the post COVID-19 world may also mean taking less but more meaningful trips in a year as people become more conscious about leaving their carbon footprint and how they’re spending their time and money. Travel may well be on its way to become contactless but contactless Personal Loans and Credit Cards are already here! Click the link below to explore your secure options.

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