How COVID-19 Changed Air Travel For Good

After the lockdown, people are eager to travel, take a break and go on vacations to visit family and relatives in other countries they haven’t seen for over two years and resume work or business-related travels.

However, COVID-19 has completely changed how we travel. Many people are finding it safer and more convenient to fly with private jet charters. Exclusive air travel has become the norm for many because it helps them avoid large crowds in confined spaces, attracting the COVID-19 virus. Nevertheless, people still flock to airports to fly commercially.

Whether you’re flying commercially or on a chartered flight, authorities are still intent on implementing COVID-19 health and safety protocols, even if the strict lockdown has long been lifted. Additionally, these protocols change from time to time because there are new variants of the virus.

Following these health and safety protocols is the major adjustment that any traveller should learn to accept. They have changed air travel, and, given the current COVID-19 situation, they may be here to stay for good (or at least for years).

The Changes: New and Stricter Protocols

Here are some of the protocols, newer and stricter ones, that every air traveller should be aware of:

  1. Some countries require face shields in crowded areas, including airports.
  2. Multiple countries require travellers to be fully vaccinated before travelling. The CDC recommends this as well.
  3. There are still several countries that are closed to visitors and tourists; an example is Japan. Some of them, however, may have exemptions, although proof of reason may be required (such as a doctor’s certificate).
  4. In most countries, travellers may be required to bring their vaccination cards. The WHO also has a yellow card or an international certificate of vaccination that may be required in some destinations.
  5. Even if you have a filled up vaccination card, some countries will still require you to submit to a PCR test, which should return a negative result a few days before the travel date.
  6. Some countries require travellers to quarantine upon arrival; the length varies per country or destination.
  7. Health insurance may also be a requirement in several countries.
  8. Despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, many countries and destinations still strictly require wearing face masks while travelling. Several airlines, though, have already lifted the wearing of face masks protocol.
  9. Some airlines have come up with passenger categories every passenger should be aware of:
  • Vaccinated
  • Unvaccinated
  • Transportation Workers (i.e., truck drivers and seamen)
  • Under 12

Aside from the above mentioned, there are several other things to expect when travelling in the time of COVID-19 (and beyond):

  • Some amenities and services may not be offered anymore
  • Changes in schedules and flight frequency
  • Higher airline fares
  • COVID-19 is still very much around, so expect protocols to change every now and then, especially when cases arise without warning
  • There’s a difference between flying in the economy section and the first-class section, particularly in terms of ensuring social distancing – a passenger not wearing a mask seated in the economy section is exposed to more risk compared to an unmasked passenger in a first-class seat
  • Sanitizing stations
  • Floor stickers reminding travellers of social distancing protocols
  • More local compared to international travels
  • New technologies in airports to help keep health and safety protocols in place, such as contactless bag check/check-ins, cashless transactions, autocleaning materials
  • The possibility of a digital health passport
  • Non-negotiable travel insurance and medical insurance

Travel Trends that Will Go Beyond 2022

  1. Group holidays have increased – significant increase in group bookings, particularly for groups of more than 20 travellers (in the UK).
  2. People are finally taking their long-awaited trips, once in a lifetime travel adventures.
  3. Business travel is back in full swing – many businesses are now prepared to ensure all safety measures and protocols just to bring their workers together again with the least risks – private/chartered flights.
  4. Ecotourism is a major thing now. Some flights cater specifically to travellers who want to visit or explore natural, sustainable areas and local communities. Common destinations include Costa Rica, New Zealand, Galapagos Island, and Iceland.
  5. Technology in travel – Travelers and travel companies now use technology, specifically AI or artificial intelligence, smart speakers, biometric technology, and sensory perception. It will be easier to book and monitor trips. Travel companies will have an easier time anticipating and understanding travellers’ visions and aspirations. With the help of technology, achieving travel goals has become easier.

 

 

COVID-19 may be here for quite some time, so knowing everything you can about the protocols and changes in air travel is important. It’s the best way to prepare for a fun, memorable, and meaningful trip.

About the Author:

Melissa Hull is the Content Marketing Strategist for Aviation Charters, a West Trenton, New Jersey-based private aviation company that provides on-demand aircraft charter, aircraft management, and aircraft acquisition services. Aside from her passion for writing, she loves to travel and read espionage books.

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