Before the pandemic of 2020, I used to fly often for work. Usually, I was away from home 2 weeks out of four, and would travel to every corner of the United States. I also occasionally traveled internationally, with trips throughout Australasia and Europe. For me, travel by air was a way of life, and I hardly gave any thought to it. And I certainly didn’t think much about the health risks of flying. Although, I used to tell friends that one way that I kept my immune system strong was by visiting major airports and breathing a cocktail of nasty germs from other passengers.
Not a laughing matter anymore
Now, what was once something I joked about, is now something the entire world is fearful about. Which brings me to this important question: How do we fly safely in a post-pandemic world?
When the coronavirus began to shut down major airlines (and I mean SHUT DOWN MAJOR AIRLINES), it was hard fathom what we were witnessing. Almost overnight travel by air was all but completely stopped. Nations shut off inbound flights from virus hotspots (which included pretty much everywhere), Businesses stopped sending reps on company trips. Families cancelled vacations. Resorts closed. Cruise liners were mothballed. And on and on and on.
The slow reopening
A few months into the pandemic, airlines began to open more flights, but with certain safety measures in place such as requiring passengers to wear masks, taking temperatures prior to boarding, etc. Some airlines are even requiring passengers to prove negative COVID test results prior to taking to the air. Other airlines are retrofitting passenger cabins to have plastic barriers installed! Almost ALL airlines are forcing passengers to social distance by having empty seats between passengers.
As with all chapters of crisis, opportunities to be innovative always arise. The airline industry is certainly showing how this is done by developing new innovative approaches to the way passenger seating is designed, the way passengers stow luggage, the way lavatories are designed, and more–all in the effort to reduce touch-points and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during flights.
Together we can take to the skies again
Passengers can play their part, too, in slowing the spread of COVID-19 while flying. We shouldn’t leave ALL the dirty work to the airlines. By doing so, we all take to the skies again–with increased assurance of safety, health, and wellness.