Friday, 15 May 2020

8 changes to expect when flying after COVID-19

One thing seems clear with COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes it: we’re in it for the long haul, and it has already changed the face of life as we know it. Airlines, which are always in a perpetual state of change, are no exception. Aviation journalist John Walton looks at the changes we can expect when we start flying again.

Costs will change

The first thing you’ll notice is when it comes time to book: the pricing of flights is likely to be different from what we’ve been used to.

You might have seen some really inexpensive flights at the moment, especially in the US where airlines are running empty planes as essential services as directed by the government. But once it makes sense for anyone to fly for non-essential reasons it will take quite some time — a matter of years, probably — to spin aviation back up to its 2019 levels.

As soon as we start getting into the phase of living with COVID-19, for the most part you can probably expect airlines to be pretty conservative about the number of planes they bring back into service, and at what speed. That will affect the number of seats they can offer for sale, and so prices are likely to rise.

You’re also likely be seeing smaller planes to start with, and if you’re not travelling from a major hub you’re more likely to have to connect.

There may well be nobody sitting next to you

One of the interim ways that airlines are trying to add some physical distance between passengers is by blocking off the seat next to you, sort of like what happens in European business class. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s part of the puzzle to try to keep passengers as safe as possible.

This isn’t sustainable long-term — it would mean that airlines could only sell two thirds of the seats onboard your average Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 — and if it continues you can probably expect ticket prices to rise accordingly.

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Expect wearing face masks to be mandatory


via Lonely Planet India

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