HOW COVID-19 HAS CHANGED AIR TRAVEL
As countries are relaxing most restrictions, it is good news to know that flight travel is slowly starting up again. Travel restrictions have adversely impacted the aviation industry, but just as impactful are the decisions that air travellers are making to avoid commercial travel.
Many people are wondering whether it is safe to resume air travel, both for leisure and business. Even though several leading airline companies claimed to have implemented new health-related safety procedures and have declared air travel safe for the public, some travellers and observers are still doubtful.
Exploring The World Safely After Covid 19
Sky News publish that Italian doctors are warning that COVID-19 could be worse than first thought and that it is not going away.
With this in mind, how can you safely explore the world and how can passengers be assured that the people they are sharing a plane with, don’t have COVID, especially when it has been reported that some airlines are not enforcing social distancing on all flights.
With many variations from one airport to another in health safety processes, it may confuse consumers and not provide enough confidence for them to take a trip.
As a result, people may only prefer to travel when it is most necessary, rather than when they wish to, whether for pleasure or business purposes.
Safety Protocols For Airline Carriers After Covid 19
It is no news that more countries are relaxing their restrictions and people are waiting to see what safety protocols will look like for commercial carriers.
In response, commercial airlines are implementing different safety and health screening protocols to lower the risk of their staff and passengers contracting and/or transmitting the COVID-19 disease. Your airline should provide you with these measures to lower the risk as they vary airline to airline.
While these procedures vary between airports, most airlines now require that their customers wear facemasks. Some claim to be using High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to clean, re-circulate the air in the aircraft, and eliminate virtually all viruses and microbes from the air in the planes’ cabins. However, there are some people who don’t have to wear a face covering for health, age or equality reasons.
A prediction from the chief executive Sean Donohue from the worlds busiest airport ‘Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport (DFW)’ told Reuters in an interview “Whatever the new normal (…) it’s going to be more and more around self-service,”
With that in mind, the airport is working with American Airlines to roll out a self check-in for luggage, and that by the end of July all of its restroom areas will be touchless and have hands-free sinks, soap, flushing toilets, and paper towel dispensers, which will be equipped with sensors to alert workers when supplies are low.
Melbourne Airport introduced some new hygiene measures which came into effect on July 7, which includes:
- hand sanitiser units being placed in all terminals next to check-in kiosks, lifts, inside gate lounges, and next to lifts in car parks and in taxi ranks.
- antibacterial wipes being placed inside baggage reclaim and next to trolley pick-up stations, as well as food courts
- more social distancing floor markings at check-ins, security screening and lounges.
- spaced out seating to ensure passengers spend less time close to each other
Safety Guidance at Airports and What You Can Do to Keep Safe
Travel as safe as you can and control the coronavirus by following these safety measures:
- choose quieter times and routes to travel
- use a direct route where possible
- always stay 2 meters apart from other people where its possible to do so
- hand sanitise or wash your hands regularly especially after self-service check-in and handling luggage trollies
- check-in online so to avoid one less point of contact at the airport
- limit the number of surfaces you touch
- don’t sing, shout and avoid speaking loudly
- use contactless payment
Do These Preventative Measures Really Make Commercial Flights Safe?
Most people may still see it as not enough to ensure their safety against the risk of contracting or transmitting the new COVID-19 coronavirus.
For instance, “Temperature checks may help to detect passengers with COVID-19 disease, but will not detect asymptomatic passengers who are possibly transmitting the virus,” said the Times.
Could private aviation serve as a better option for travellers?
While the commercial aviation has had a decline in demand due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the demands for flights on private jets continue to experience a peak.
Corporate executives and wealthy leisure travellers, (especially among those who have previously not paid to fly privately) are now weighing their options with private jets where previously have never justified the privacy, time savings, and efficiency of flying private, but are now taking a different view.
“The private jet industry has experienced huge success in the last three (3) months with its use holding up outstandingly well unlike the commercial scheduled airlines” according to Citi bank.
Private Jet Travel in Response to Covid 19
Private jet companies are booking about 80% more flights than before the pandemic hit whilst commercial flights have decreased to as low as 10%.
The increases in demand for flights on private jets is not because it can circumvent many of the travel restrictions in place, but also because it allows passengers to avoid crowded airports.
Travellers now understand the contagion risks in crowded environments, and the awareness will probably outlive the pandemic.
Flying privately provides:
- Far greater privacy, security, and control over the environment
- You share the cabin with a few people and avoid the busy main airport
- It is possible to fly to more countries without any interchange.
- You avoid possible bankruptcies and airline flight cancellations
- Private jets are easier to clean
- Countries are allowing more private jets into their territories over commercial
- No need to wear a mask.
- No long queues in the airport or trying to social distance
In this period of COVID-19, additional measures are now in place to protect private jet passengers, including disinfection before every flight, deep cleaning, and new service protocols per flight.
Passengers move through a small, un-crowded private terminal and there is no need to wear a mask or stand in long queues for social distancing since you are travelling alone or as a household, and it is, therefore, safer.
“At this moment, with the Covid-19 and social distancing rules, fly private if you can afford it. They are faster and can fly directly to most airports, while commercial airlines may need to connect flights” said Marco Fossati of the Italian food conglomerate, Star.
Private Flights Versus Commercial Flights
Flying a private jet is obviously more expensive than commercial flights. Whether it is health risk concerns or just getting where you need to be, companies and individuals that are wealthy enough to fly private jets but previously eschewed it, now think less about the cost of flying private and more about the safety of flying commercial.
According to an observatory report from McKinsey consulting firm, a transiting passenger on an average commercial flight is exposed to about 700 contact points with objects and other people compared to about 30 on private flights.
Many wealthy people take commercial flights due to the attached benefits which give them access to various incentives, but many people now do not want to fly commercial if they have underlying health conditions or are part of an ageing population.
Do I Need to Self-Quarantine After Travel?
Whether you travel via private flight or commercial flight, most passengers are still expected to spend 14 days in quarantine.
This will be taken either at the residents home, a hotel, staying with a close peer or a government facility.
All incoming travellers will have to provide their address, contact details and any travel plans to the authorities, should they need to trace them.
When You Are Exempt From Quarantine
However, there are cases where some people are exempt from having to quarantine on return, as some European countries will operate an ‘airbridge’, with no requirement to quarantine either side, so it’s worth having a look at the government website for UK border rules or these country links below for up to date information:
However, you will still be required to provide your journey and contact details and will have to self-isolate if you’ve visited or made a ‘transit stop’ in a country that’s not on the list.
If you’re looking for information on how to self isolate when you travel to the uk, you can find all this information on the government’s website.
At a time like this, it’s important to weigh up your options and risk associated with flying privately versus the risks of flying by commercial aeroplane.
Having a dedicated aircraft management company that has your safety at heart is priceless and worth consideration.
KJET has long catered to wealthy leisure travellers and corporate executives, providing support and guidance at every stage of jet ownership and operations.