The Future of Air Travel Might Not Be Friendly Skies

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The air travel industry is at work creating strategies to enable passengers to fly again while protecting them against disease.

But as they aim to get us back in the skies, experts are saying the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest crisis to ever face the industry. Even going so far as to label it “the new terrorism.”

Some estimates put flight check-in process to take as long as four hours and would involve measures like social distancing, passenger and luggage sanitation, and widened space for boarding.

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Turn around time for planes will likely extend to about nine or ten hours for intensive cleaning.

In the near future, however, few people will be allowed to fly to a limited number of destinations, so crowded airports and waiting areas may not be an important issue.

Other changes may include zero carry-on bags allowed, closed lounges,  no upgrades, mandatory face masks and gloves, self check in and bag drop off, immunity passports, blood test and sanitation/disinfection tunnels.

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Airports may require passengers to use facial identification technology in lieu of passports. British Airways, Qantas and EasyJet already use biometrics below allowing boarding.

Non-passengers may be prohibited from entering airports and other crowd controlling methods, like contactless payment, check-in and bag drop-off, and thermal scans employed.

Passengers might need a “fit to fly” certification and luggage will be “sanitagged” after being fogged in tunnels.

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Once on the plane, expect to see workers in full protective gear and the elimination of food and beverage service.

Something that is still up for debate is the type of health screening passengers could expect once landing. Discussions include a federal health screening area in airports for passengers to submit to temperature checks and blood tests.

As with post-9/11 travel, airports and airlines will have to forge their own paths, trying some policies and ditching others as need and efficiency dictates.

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Expect also to see smaller carriers, and possibly one major American carrier, to file bankruptcy or fold completely.

And, sadly, much of the world is still under fire from the current pandemic, and not even open to travel and tourism.

Only one thing we know for sure—the future of air travel is bleak for the next few years. But, as with other life-changing events, we’ll adjust as we wait in hope for the skies to open for business again.