no doubt flight restrictions will gradually ease and airlines will begin
filling more seats – the questions are when and how.
aviation marketing consultancy SimpliFlying says that uncertainty around “how” air
travel will change has become a common question being asked by its
airline clients around the world.
effort to answer that question, the agency has mapped out more than 70 elements
of an air travel experience that it predicts will need to change to ensure the
health – and peace of mind – of travelers.
like how after 9/11 people wanted assurance there are no weapons in flight now
they will not board a flight unless they are assured there are no viruses on
board,” says Shashank Nigam, founder and CEO of SimpliFlying.
“The Rise of Sanitized Travel”
outlines ideas for every step of a traveler’s journey, from check-in through arrival at the destination.
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says he expects some of the ideas will be common at most airports in the next
twelve months, such as disinfecting every checked and carry-on bag, temperature
scanners for all passengers, protective screens for check-in agents and
in-flight janitors to continually disinfect high-touch areas.
ideas are more complex and will take more time and coordination, such as
requiring passengers to either upload an “immunity passport” to verify they
have COVID-19 antibodies or go through a “disinfection tunnel and thermal
to the creation of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after 9/11,
Nigam says there will need to be a global THA – Transportation Health
strongly believe there needs to be one single authority that sets global
standards in the airport and on the flight,” he says.
will have to managed by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), the
World Health Organization and ACI (Airports Council International). In an ideal
situation we want consistent health screenings and policies around the world
because inconsistency will only frustrate travelers more and suppress demand.”
predictions also point to challenges that may arise for both travelers – needing
to arrive four or more hours ahead of a flight to go through the necessary
checks – and airlines, “Enhanced cleaning regimes could spell the end of the
30-minute turnaround, upon which many low-cost carriers base much of their
also sees opportunities for airlines to drive ancillary revenues, such as
all-inclusive insurance that would provide a full refund if a passenger is
denied boarding due to health concerns. Other revenue opportunities could
include selling masks, gloves and an adjacent seat to ensure it remains empty –
although Nigam does not see the value in that.
personally think leaving the middle seat empty is like putting lipstick on a pig
- it’s purely cosmetic. It only makes people feel a little better that there is
no one next to them, but there is no scientific evidence to support it,” he