Although we don’t know quite when, we do know that one day the world will travel again. And when it does, the passenger journey will be a very different one to pre-COVID-19.
Wizz Air, which plans to resume some of its services from London Luton Airport on 1 May, has already outlined enhanced health and safety measures that will be in place for its passengers. These will include physical distancing before and during boarding and customers are advised to check-in and make any additional purchases, such as adding extra baggage, online before arriving at the airport.
Looking further down the line, a report by Singapore-based aviation marketing consultancy, SimpliFlying, has mapped out 70 areas of the passenger journey that could change due to the demands of travellers. It suggests that in the age of sanitised travel, passengers will be required to upload an immunity passport confirming the presence of antibodies for COVID-19. Once at the airport, only those travelling will be allowed to enter the airport, and they should arrive at least four hours prior to departure. Before they are allowed in the departure area, they will need to show their immunity passport or go through a disinfection tunnel and thermal scanners, to determine whether they are ‘fit to fly’. Bags will also go through UV disinfection or a ‘fogging’ process to be ‘sanitagged’.
Touchless vending machines in the boarding area, the need to maintain social distancing in the departure lounge and individual notifications delivered to passengers via their mobile phones are all to be expected in the age of sanitised travel.
Similarly, on arrival at their destination, passenger bags will be ‘sanitagged’ before being placed on the conveyor belt and thermal scanners will be used to identify passengers with a potential fever.
Passengers will seek assurance that they are not at risk of contracting a virus and consistency across countries will be required to help boost confidence in travel. As such a Transport Health Authority (THA) will define health screening and sanitation standards throughout the travellers’ journey.
There are bound to be other predictions about what the passenger journey of tomorrow will look like following the current pandemic. As passengers, we used to complain about airport queues and long waiting times. But it looks like this is something we will all have to get used to once the industry rebounds. I’ll embrace it, I can’t wait to travel tomorrow. But for the time being I know the right thing is to stay home.
Have a safe weekend,
Chloë Greenbank, Regional Gateway Editor.
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