25 Jun The new (airline travel) normal. Click to Keep Reading…
What’s in store for you the next time that you fly? Industry experts suggest that airlines will have a difficult balance to achieve between safety and profits. Some of the changes that occurred during the height of the COVID-19 infections may shape the future of flying. JetBlue chief executive, Robin Hayes, says “You’re going to definitely have to sit next to a stranger again, I’m afraid, on a plane. Because of the economics of our industry, most airlines have a break-even load factor of 75 to 80 percent, so clearly capping flights at 55 to 60 percent, which is what we’re doing right now through July 6, is not sustainable.”
Airlines do require that both employees and passengers wear face masks. Prior to each flight, Alaska, American, United, Delta, Southwest, Hawaiian and JetBlue Airways will communicate to passengers their policy on individual face coverings. Failure to comply with the requirement could mean placement on the TSA’s no-fly list.
Some airlines have started asking travelers to fill out health questionnaires and checking passengers’ temperatures, but there is a broader push to have federal authorities take over those checks. Ty Osbaugh, aviation leader at Gensler, thinks that passengers will start to see “significantly more biometric screening and touchless elements within the next six to eight months. Systems that would scan your face, direct him to a TSA lane, and use biometrics to let people buy anything in the airport”. Getting from the curb to the gate without touching anything will be the ultimate goal.
In-flight services will be limited on domestic flights, including a ban on alcohol. There may also be restricted access to the lavatory in the near future.