We will fly again. Part two

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Airlines may not survive if they have to wait for an effective vaccine to be introduced before they can allow 180 to 500 people to sit in a metal tube for hours on end.

But they must survive because air transport is essential. Not everything can be done via video conferencing.

An old image from safer times but how will cabin crew manage social distancing?

In the meantime what actions are they considering?

Encouraging passengers to fly again will require airlines to make commitments to passengers about hygiene especially since they are unlikely to be able to institute any two metre distancing rule.

Many planes only do deep-cleaning as and when and I’m pretty sure I have been on older planes that looked as though they have never been deep-cleaned. Airlines are already telling us about how efficient their cleaning is but with fast turnaround times they don’t have time for deep-cleaning after every flight. Will deep-cleaning take palce after every other flight, after 24 hours of flying time, after a week? How will they answer passengers’ expectations and clean and hygienically sanitised flying? Is the answer to have planes staying longer on the ground for cleaning?

Will airline companies undertake temperature tests as passengers check-in or board planes?

Refusing to carry passengers with high temperatures may act as a confidence booster to other passengers but what if a passenger shows signs of a cold and has no temperature? This might alarm other passengers.  Could they transfer to another flight with no penalty? Could they claim a refund?

The airline, Emirates claims that it has developed a test for coronavirus that takes just ten minutes to get results. It has introduced it at the airport in Dubai as a test.

Perception is all important and if a person looks under the weather and is concerning to passengers what attitudes will airlines take?

Passengers on Emirates will be required to wear masks.

Even if passengers have an empty seat next to them, the movements of the cabin crew on a flight are likely to be of concern to both passengers and cabin crew members themselves. How can they serve drinks, answer questions, clean-up and be efficient and, at the same time, keep a reasonable distance from passengers? You cannot dispense with cabin crew because as we are so often told, they are there primarily for our safety.

Emirates have re-packaged drinks and meals for passengers to minimise contact and other airlines would be considering siliar measures.

Are airline manufacturers – primarily Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer considering any redesign to their aircraft in order to try and introduce social distancing? Judging by an interview I heard on Bloomberg with Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, the answer is no as he gave no mention of the subject at all.

I suspect that many airlines and manufacturers, airports and governments are rather hoping that when the virus impact recedes, life goes back to normal and that they need to do nothing.

The question is whether passengers and prospective passengers will accept a return to the old ways.

Tomorrow, airports will be the main feature as I discuss the possible future of flying.

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