Welcome to the airline flight of 2021. Before boarding, please walk through the disinfection tunnel and thermal scanner, and have your bags ‘sanitagged.’ You won’t find any in-flight magazine to entertain you on board, but look out for the disinfectant wipes as part of the in-flight service. And don’t count on being allowed on the aircraft if you start coughing at the gate.
Aviation marketing consultancy SimpliFlying released a report called “The Rise of Sanitised Travel.” This report details over 70 different areas in the passenger journey that are expected to either change or to be introduced from scratch to restore confidence in flying after COVID-19.
Based on the SimpliFlying report, here are some of the things you can expect to see as soon as later this year:
1. Touchless cabins and check-in terminals. Seatback pockets will be left empty and there will be touchless kiosks (scan via a code, or even through voice commands) in airport terminals
2. After 9/11 many airlines introduced in-flight Sky Marshalls. Post Covid-19 we could see the introduction of the in-flight janitor, who especially on longer flights, will keep the cabin clean, especially high-touch areas like toilet door handles.
3. Checking in bags? Expect them to be ‘sanitagged’ after going through fogging, electrostatic or UV-disinfection.
4. Everyone flying in the US has heard of the TSA. Coming next, look out for the THA (Transportation Health Authority)
According to SimpliFlying CEO Shashank Nigam, “9/11 changed travel completely with added security checks and longer check-in times. The impact of COVID-19 on air travel will be even more far-reaching when it comes to sanitation and cleanliness.
“Just like when security checks were introduced, there will be two distinct audiences airlines will need to convince: Authorities and the travelling public.
“Getting large numbers of people flying again will depend on giving them the peace of mind that they won’t be rubbing shoulders - or bumping elbows in Economy - with infectious fellow travellers.”
“In addition, Government authorities and airport operators will want to know that airlines adhere to a certain standard of cleanliness and hygiene before offering up landing slots.”
Shashank Nigam also points to the challenge budget airlines will face in the new landscape, “enhanced cleaning regimes could spell the end of the 30-minute turnaround, upon which many low-cost carriers base much of their business model.”
SimpliFlying has produced an infographic detailing the new passenger journey and some of the most important sanitation touch-points you can expect to encounter as a traveller. All resources for the media, including a hi-res infographic, can be accessed here.