5 ways Covid-19 is changing the way we fly and what we think will happen next

PHOTO: Unsplash

With the continuous rise of cases daily and tightening restrictions worldwide, it may seem like there's no end to the travel halts around the world.

However, some countries-and of course, many travellers-are already looking forward to a recovery period.

One thing to remember is that the travel industry has always breathed life into itself.

From security threats and deadly terrorist attacks to several big and small epidemics, it has managed to find ways to help people be where they want to be, with little tweaks along the way.

This pandemic is no different. Here are a few ways Covid-19 is changing the way we travel and what may happen in the future.

How and when we will travel again

Both international and domestic flights around the world are currently seeing huge drops in passengers due to both travel restrictions and the heightened anxiety among travellers.

It will not be the same for everyone everywhere.

As the illness moves in waves across the world, many countries will recover faster and open their borders only for nations that are successful in controlling the virus.

Taking cues from China, domestic travel may be the first sector to see a slow recovery. Indeed, most travel will remain domestic at first with families choosing to take cars or trains.

Some may not want or able to travel for months to come.

A survey, jointly released by The China Tourism Academy and an online travel agency, says that many Chinese travellers may travel by June 2020 if this pandemic is effectively controlled.

A recent Forbes report also mentioned that 58 per cent Americans are planning to travel between May and September 2020, "as long as their destinations aren't in quarantine".

A quarter will try to avoid big cities and public transportation, and 21 per cent will choose domestic travel.

India plans to allow domestic and international flights "in a staggered manner" once lockdown ends, and the UAE has approved outbound passenger flights to many destinations.

Needless to say, everywhere else in the world will naturally follow suit in time.

So, will we fly again? Yes, of course. We will fly again; we have to.

Social distancing measures

PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Airlines that are still operating have jumped into enacting drastic social distancing measures, like blocking middle seats.

In the near future, they may stick to these measures by selectively seating passengers or enforcing proper distance during queues.

This may continue for a while, or even becomes the new norm.

Health monitoring devices will be in use for a long time - at least until a vaccine is out - so as to identify disease risk.

Be prepared for longer queues at immigration counters where one would have to line up appropriately, get a swab test and wait for the results.

Packing your luggage

PHOTO: Pixabay

Even the most carefree of travellers will now stuff in wipes and hand sanitizers. We may also see airlines relaxing their rules about liquids on board, especially on long flights.

It goes without saying that masks may soon be a must-have item, with passengers masking up in airports, queues and airplanes.

Will you have to deal with a masked cabin crew too? Well, let's wait and watch.

Air quality

Information about airplane's air quality is now a fixture in most major carriers' websites.

This is an important addition as passengers will book their tickets on carriers that take their air quality seriously, at least in the near future.

Some airlines have already started emailing clients about the filtration systems they use and pretty soon, airliners will start advertising air quality onboard as they advertise other features.

Personal in-flight hygiene

PHOTO: Pixabay

One way this pandemic is changing how we live is by forcing us to reconsider how we approach personal hygiene.

Once we get to fly again, more people will start to take serious note on how to keep themselves clean and healthy in the airplane.

For one, it has always been socially unacceptable to cough or sneeze in public regardless of whether you carry a virus or not.

In the future, the social etiquette of covering up when you cough or sneeze may be observed a lot more closely around the world.

If you're looking to fly sometime soon or in the future, here are a few tips you can follow to ensure that you stay healthy throughout your trip:

  • Pump up your immunity by eating good food and getting good sleep the night before you fly
  • Stay hydrated
  • Wipe down seats, belts, screens and meal trays
  • Bring your own pillow and blanket if you can.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and eyes.
  • If you are in a plane with air vents, turn it on to deflect any germs lingering in the air
  • Wear a face mask.

Be careful, not paranoid. Learn to relax. Here's to a lifetime of flying!

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

This article was first published in Wego.