Back in the air!
Airlines are adding flights as demand recovers from the virus. We should expect additional flight options in July thanks to increased interest from consumers in US states that have reopened more quickly from COVID-19 restrictions. American Airlines will fly 55% of its domestic schedule and almost 20% of its international schedule. The carrier is boosting service to where demand is strongest -- namely the Southeast for beach goers and Western states with national parks.
Curious what travel might look like in the not so distant future? CNBC shared some encouraging news: One good thing that may result from this pandemic is the positive change we're likely to see implemented at airports. For example: Touchless Technology Expect to see a great strides in technology for a zero touch check-in, security and boarding. Eventually, passports will be replaced with facial-recognition and other scanning biometrics. "Mobile phones will become your remote control to manage your travel," according to Andrew O'Connor, VP of portfolio management at Sita. Dubai International has a "smart tunnel" that speeds up immigration control. Using biometrics, passengers clear immigration in 15 seconds. Sanitized Luggage and cleaner airports It is predicted that luggage will be fogged on check-in belts and carry on luggage will be disinfected by fogging or UV light. Airports are and will be cleaned more frequently, with an increased reliance on sterilization robots. Automated hand sanitizers throughout airports are becoming the norm. More space Should measures be successfully implemented to reduce lines, travelers are bound to enjoy more space during their time in airports., ultimately resulting in a more relaxed and enjoyable environment. Disease detection vs. conduit As airports add health screening systems, airports could change from being a conduit of disease to a place of detection and containment.
What to know before you go! In response to COVID-19, TSA has updated security procedures. Travelers who have not flown since the pandemic should notice the following changes:
Reduced security lane usage due to the reduction in passenger volume.
All TSA officers at checkpoints wearing masks and gloves.
TSA officers optionally wearing eye protection and clear plastic face shields at some locations.
TSA officers will continue the practice of changing gloves after each pat-down.
Plastic shielding installed at many travel document checking podiums, divest, bag search and drop off locations.
TSA officers practicing social distancing.
Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.
Many airlines and airports are also providing specific COVID-19 related guidance to travelers; please check with your airline prior to your trip. Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport early as COVID-19 has affected staffing and operations across the airport environment. This will allow adequate time for checking bags, completing security screening and getting to the departure gate. Additional TSA information is available here.
Confidence is increasing in air travel. Here are some recent quotes from folks who've recently been in the skies:
"I flew for the second time last weekend, and it was a great experience. People were much more relaxed than a month ago." "I traveled over Memorial Day weekend and the experience with Delta was wonderful." "Just flew Southwest. DEN-MSP-DEN it was great!" "I was surprised the airport restaurants were open."
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain