By Nico Strydom
Numerous countries have enabled their citizens to once again travel in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, but experts agree that the travel experience will for now and long afterwards be very different.
South Africans started travelling again for work on 1 June. At this stage travel for relaxation or pleasure remains forbidden. International travel is also not allowed, with South Africa’s borders remaining closed.
However, Oz Desai, CEO of Corporate Traveller, warns that the travel experience will for now appear quite different. “Travellers should be aware that the rules and regulations for travel can and will change constantly as the risk level will be continuously re-evaluated.”
At this stage only a few airports have reopened and therefore there will be limited flights. According to Desai, travellers should expect matters at airports to proceed quite differently from the usual. Travellers are compelled to wear face masks and will have to have the necessary documentation at hand to motivate why they have to travel.
Travellers will undergo screening tests and can be refused entry if they show any symptoms of Covid-19, such as a high fever. Social distancing will be applied strictly and disinfection will take place at numerous locations. According to Desai, the new travel landscape could lead to uncertainty and anxiety for travellers.
At this stage flights can resume at full capacity. Travellers will however still have to wear their masks on the aeroplane and no food or refreshments will be served. The back row will be reserved for isolation purposes. The aeroplanes will be disinfected before and after each flight. Accommodation places will be open only to business travellers.
This will however not necessarily be the case worldwide when people can again travel across the world. Many airlines are looking at the possibility of leaving the middle seats in aeroplanes vacant.
Even after the Covid-19 pandemic, it is expected that stricter safety and health measures will still be applied at airport and this will probably mean longer queues.
Airports will probably also move toward a so-called touch-free experience, where people will not have to touch almost anything. This means biometric and automatic e-gates can come into use.
Flight tickets are expected to be more expensive in the foreseeable future, as airlines have suffered huge losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the extra precautionary measures that need to be taken now that they can resume flights.
Corporate Traveller: https://www.corporatetraveller.co.za/