The signs of a travel industry turned upside down aren’t hard to spot at the airport. Departure and arrival boards aren’t even half full, social distancing signs appear in security lines, and there are fewer travelers in airports – but many sanitizer stations.
Shashank Nigam with Simpli-Flying, an airline consulting firm, said this is just the beginning.
“We foresee a new normal, very similar to a new normal that came after 9/11,” Nigam said.
He said you may have to get to the airport four to five hours early because of all the sanitation procedures that airports and airlines may put in place.
“When you enter the airport, we may need to walk through disinfectant tunnels,” he said. “We will see our bags being sanitized through UV disinfectants or through fogging just before they enter the baggage system so that no bags that are inside the system will be infected.”
The security bins that everyone touches may have to go through a sanitation process, too. And once you get to the gate, you may not be shoulder to shoulder in line while waiting to board the plane.
“We expect the boarding process to change such that our individual boarding announcements are on a mobile app,” Nigam said.
Even while you’re on the plane, you could see new features like sanitation videos, in-flight janitors and airline-branded masks, Nigam said.
“We expect a lot of these measures to come into play to ensure that people stay healthy and it reduces the risk of any viruses being transmitted.”
Nigam said he thinks business travel will bounce back first. He doesn’t think leisure travel will pick back up for at least another six months, and the costs for new sanitation protocols could be split between government funding and travelers.
PDF DOWNLOAD: “Report: The Rise of Sanitised Travel” by Simpli-Flying