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Here Are 4 Major Changes You Can Expect From Air Travel Six Months From Now And Beyond
We’re now in the second half of 2020 and unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are still on the rise. Many of our summer travel plans to places far and wide have been put on hold indefinitely and we are slowly but surely coming to terms with the ‘new normal.’
The travel industry is trying to stay optimistic but there is so much uncertainty around when the economy and industry will bounce back.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian says, “This could take several years before we’re into our new normal of traveling.”
According to CNBC, “With passenger demand in sharp decline, Delta, United and American parked hundred of planes and posted their first quarterly losses in more than five years.”
This leaves many of us wondering what will travel look like in the next six months?
American Airlines is expecting to see its second quarter of 2020 revenue to decline by 90% in comparison with the second quarter revenue of 2019.
In an effort to attract travelers, U.S. airlines have enforced new sanitation policies, thoroughly cleaned aircrafts, and limited the number of passengers per flight.
Seth Kaplan, an aviation analyst at Kaplan Research tells CNBC, “This is the biggest crisis of all, bigger than even 9/11, than SARS and the Great Recession and all of that. Every crisis changes the airline industry, so it’s only reasonable to think that the biggest crisis of all will cause some of the biggest changes of all.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that pre-coronavirus travel levels won’t return until the year 2023.
Arriving At The Airport
In the next 6 months, travelers can be introduced to a whole new check-in process consisting of temperature screenings, touchless kiosks, and plexiglass shields at all counters.
Travelers will also be required to wear masks and airports will look a lot cleaner.
The downside to this will be more lines due to health screenings. Testing for COVID-19 could also be a new part of the check-in process.
Face recognition could also replace the traditional boarding pass.
When On The Plane
Since it’s very difficult to practice social distancing when on planes, airlines will start boarding passengers from back to front. There are also plans to remove middle seats. Delta Air Lines, for example, has started to block middle seats on its flights.
Airlines will also start sending alerts to travelers if their flight will be full, allowing travelers to switch flights at no extra charge.
The downside to this is airlines will most likely raise their fares by 43 – 54% to compensate for having fewer passengers on flights.
Food and drink service will be limited and passengers will be encouraged to pack their own meals. Glassware and in-flight magazines will most likely become banned across all airlines int he next six months.
Face coverings will also be required across all airlines and travelers who refused may be fined and banned in the future.
Airlines have really stepped up their cleanliness practices since the pandemic hit. Planes are being cleaned more frequently and thoroughly than ever before.
Change Fees Waived
Often times people feel pressured to get on a flight they booked even when they aren’t feeling well to avoid being charged change fees. Travelers can expect airlines to start waiving change fees in an effort to encourage sick passengers to switch flights.
Although you can expect these changes in the next 6 months, some changes, like wearing facemasks at the airport and on flights, are most likely here to stay.