If you think that everything will go back to normal post lockdown, you are mistaken.
In an age of Covid-19, travel won’t be the same. Travellers will be more mindful of how they travel – whether it’s wiping down surfaces or wearing masks and gloves. This new phenomenon is known as sanitised travel, the industry’s answer to curbing the transmission of viruses post lockdown.
SimpliFlying, a leading airline marketing strategy firm, was behind the report titled The Rise of Sanitised Travel: The day of the life of an airline passenger, which offers a glimpse of how travellers will fly post Covid-19.
In the report, SimpliFlying delves into how certain parts of the travel operation, mainly in airports, will change drastically post Covid-19. These include online checking, check-in, bag drop, security, boarding areas and inflight experiences.
Sanitised travel will put a spotlight on the importance of healthy practices. Unfortunately, it does require a strict process. For example, gone are the days when your loved ones bid you farewell at the departure gates as only travellers will be allowed in the airport.
The report reveals: “Previously, passengers and those dropping them off could arrive 1-3 hours before departure. In the age of sanitised travel, only those travelling will be allowed to enter the airport, at least 4 hours before departure.
“Before they can be allowed in the departure area, they will either need to show their immunity passport or go through a disinfection tunnel and thermal scanners. Only if they are deemed ‘fit to fly’ will they be allowed in.”
The check-in and bag drop processes are also likely to change. Passengers will be required to have a health assessment conducted by agents at the check-in counter.
SimpliFlying revealed that some airlines may administer blood tests as well. The passenger’s bag will undergo a fogging or a UV disinfection process and thereafter sanitagged.
Travellers no longer have the option of selecting a seat hours before their flight as they will be assigned seats by agents to ensure inflight distancing. Before they embark on the journey, agents will hand them masks and gloves for their journey, from the airport, in the flight and at their destination.
SimpliFlying stated that the check-in process may no longer be swift. It stated in the report: “From manually being assigned seats to a health scan being done, travellers will need to adapt to new realities.
“People may be required to show up at least four hours before departure, depending on the specific airline’s and airport’s procedures. This may inconvenience families with children and the elderly the most. Business travellers may prefer to take the train or drive if possible, to avoid the hassles.”
Once travellers’ are on board, they will experience a new kind of onboard service. Cabin crew interactions will be limited, including the serving of meals, which will now be prepacked and sealed.
There will be no in-flight magazines and the seatback pockets will remain bare. The use of touch screens will be minimal or non-existent.
SimpliFlying reveals that bags will be sanitagged again before it makes its way to the owners via the conveyor belt. Travellers will be thermal scanned before heading to the border control officer.
An immunity passport will also have to be verified before entering the country. As for the aircraft, deep cleaning will have to take place after every flight.
The report also reveals that there’s an opportunity for the travel industry to offer all-inclusive insurance products that would issue full refunds in case they are denied boarding.
By Clinton Moodley