The vaccination rollout is well underway in many countries, restrictions are being lifted and nations are reopening their borders to welcome travelers again.
So we are ready to travel again? Yes we are. In February 2021, we polled our 186,000 LinkedIn followers and found that 57% were ready to travel. Many of us have jumped on a plane since then.
But will the traveler experience be the same as pre-COVID? The answer to that is a simple but firm ‘no.’ Although travel is picking up slowly in several regions, the pandemic is still not a thing of the past. What can you expect to be different at the airport when you get back to travel and what can you do differently?
Social distancing will still be in effect at check-in, security controls, baggage halls and all facilities at the airport, with many expecting measures to last for years. Some airlines are still blocking the middle seat to ensure distance between passengers.
At almost every airport, sanitary measures will remain strict. Expect to wear a face mask and sanitize your hands regularly. On board, your seat, tray table and overhead compartment will be cleaned. The flight attendants will do their utmost to ensure ‘sanitary safety’. Check the sanitary measures of your departing airport before you start your journey.
More than a passport
Many countries have started to require international travelers to carry a recent negative PCR COVID-19 test report. Proof of vaccination may soon be required in place of, or in addition to, a negative test report. The need for a digital health passport or certificate to accommodate this has been an ongoing discussion over the last 6 months. Recently BTN announced that Europe reached a provisional deal on digital COVID certificates to allow free movement.
Longer security lines
Despite ‘fast lanes,’ security screenings at airports will take longer. Some airports will facilitate biometrics technology via eyes or facial recognition to speed up the process of getting people through security. Some biometrics companies are now able to recognize a passenger successfully with a face mask.
‘Touch-free’ at all times
The pandemic has certainly accelerated the advancement of the ‘touch-free’ travel experience. More airports will be facilitating and promoting self-check in, tagging, biometric security checks and baggage drop-offs. Contactless food ordering apps are being developed for airports, to avoid queues.
The airport travel experience has certainly changed over the last year. Some of the changes will likely disappear when the pandemic is a thing of the past. Stay up to date on the latest guidelines and restrictions of every destination worldwide via CWT Essentials and make informed and timely decisions.
Maaike Boer, Global Corporate Communications, CWT
This article first appeared at the CWT blog. Reprinted with permission