The New Travel Reality: How Could Covid-19 Change Future Flights and Airports?

Published April 28th, 2020 - 03:00 GMT
The New Travel Reality: How Could Covid-19 Change Future Flights and Airports?
Travel procedures will soon witness a huge change to ensure the protection of COVID-19. (Shutterstock)

If you were bothered by having to apply for a visa, months in advance of your travel plans, or you hated having to arrive at the airport two or three hours before your flight, you need to be ready for even longer and more exhausting travel arrangements in the post-pandemic world.

The novel coronavirus might be getting gradually under control in most countries, as the world is anticipating a slow return to "usual" in the coming weeks. Yet, life will definitely be quite unusual.

Similar to a groundbreaking change in security measures in airports worldwide following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, travel procedures will soon witness a huge change to ensure the protection from COVID-19.

Due to the role of busy airports and dynamic world order, the coronavirus was able to spread to every corner of the world only weeks after its first case originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in December 2019.

This emphasis, on how inter-continental continuous flights fueled the viral outbreak, has put a lot of pressure on risk management teams in airports and airlines, to make sure a second wave of the virus never takes place.

Italian airline manufacturer Aviointeriors has proposed a new economy class cabin design with the middle seat flipped to the back and with glass partitions separating passengers from each other, suggesting that this design will help protect travelers aboard.

Just like pre-travel visa arrangements, medical checks might be required of all travelers especially for international flights, to make sure that all travelers are well. Travelers will also be advised to travel as light as possible so luggage doesn't take too long to get disinfected.

For at least the next few years, we should expect to go through disinfectants multiple times while in an airport, just like we go through security checks. Temperatures will continue to be checked through thermal screens for a while too. Travel documents will no longer be paper-based as airports will utilize digitization to avoid direct contact between staff and travelers as much as possible. Such modifications on travel producers might take its toll on ticket costs to make up for the increasingly time-consuming process.

Moreover, some airports might have to take extreme measures such as allowing only people with valid tickets to enter an airport, while individuals picking them up or dropping them off might have to stay outside, to minimize the number of people inside airports. 

Such safety precautions will definitely make travel more exhausting and frustrating for some people, as it will force people to stand in queues for longer than what we're used to. 

Experts also expect airlines to have a new set of rules that mandate travelers to wear face masks throughout their flights in addition to hand gloves.

Passengers might actually have a minimum amount of food to consume and only during very long flights. Experts suggest that food will not be fresh neither will it be handed over by flight attendants anymore, but that they might have to pick it up on their way to get on the airplane.

Many of these procedures have been followed in Hong Kong, where the virus has been well contained for weeks now.

The Sun has reported that passengers going through the Hong Kong International Airport have reported being tested through nasopharyngeal swab several times during their trips. After tests, passengers were provided with tracking bracelets to ensure that they're not leaving their homes for at least 14 days of self-isolation.

According to the newspapers, Some travelers reported having to spend about 12 hours in the airport until their test results came back negative so they could leave the airport.

After all, the world is never going to be the same again and protection procedures will very soon start to take place in every public space so the world puts an end to the pandemic we never saw coming.


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