February 16th, 2020, was the last time I visited the JFK International Airport. It has been my Friday night hang out spot for as long as I could remember. Now I'm unsure when I'll return. The outbreak of coronavirus has drastically affected the travel industry. From airlines to hotels and rideshare services have been affected and struggle to implement strategies to stay afloat, and keep customers safe. Traveling has changed, and for the foreseeable future, it won't be the same.
Like a lot of frequent travelers, we are itching to get back out there. Sad to say, it won't be the same. On May 18th, Czech Airlines announced they are open for business.
Health and safety will be the priority going forward for any form of travel. For instance, my go-to transportation to the airport is Uber. The recent health and safety changes below show that travelers will have to take into consideration their safety going forward.
As air travel resumes slowly, dont expect to see as many flights as we did pre-pandemic. Also, it's important to research the changes that were implemented by your airline of choice before booking a trip. Let's look at the changes made by Delta Airlines. The main airline I've used for the past couple of years.
Things I expect to change:
The check-in experience. I expect the check-in experience to include more digital options and require less staff interaction. A mobile app is a useful tool that will minimize the use of airport kiosks and check-in counters. I have been using the mobile app for years. However, it doesn't allow you to check in on partner airlines. For example, flights that are booked with Delta Airlines for partner airlines have limited capabilities. In this case, you will need an agent or a kiosk to verify Passport information.
TSA lines will be longer. Keep in mind that new travel procedures are being implemented. Therefore, this may lead to an increase in check-in times and airport traffic. These lines will add to your check-in time, so keep that in mind. For those of us that use Clear, I hope that the machines will be cleaned after every use or there will only be a photo requirement.
Baggage allowances might decrease for carry-on luggage. The less luggage the flight attendants have to deal with, the more seamless the boarding process will be.
Airport lounges will be restricted to fewer entries. The lounges will be arranged to hold fewer people, and food will be scaled back. Expect to see more servers and fewer buffet options.
Airplanes will be boarded from the back. Whoever sits in the last row now boards the plane first. This will reduce customer interaction. Middle seats and certain window seats are now blocked from purchase as well.
Fewer people will travel. Economic forecasts expect fewer people to travel in the months to come. This will affect pricing and the number of flight options available.
A doctor's note will be required. A medical certificate will be required and dated no more than 72 hours before arrival to state you are free of the coronavirus. Some countries may also require you to have health insurance as well. Expect this to be the new norm.
Quarantine rules. Some countries will require you to self-quarantine for two weeks before mingling with its citizens. This is something we all need to take into consideration, especially for those of us who love weekend trips a.k.a Weekend Warriors.
This pandemic has affected the world with many countries closing their borders and people in fear of their health and safety. Nevertheless, things are starting to get better. Countries are reopening borders and travel is being resumed. It is important that we all take into consideration our health and the health of others. Although travel will require more planning, the rewards will be greater. Traveling will now have a deeper meaning. It won't only be about crossing a country off of your bucket list but more about appreciating the moment.
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any parties mentioned. None of the entities mentioned has reviewed, approved, or endorsed the content listed in this post.