Flying in the COVID-19 Age: What Airlines are Doing Right for a Passenger-Friendly Experience
Travelers are beginning to spread their wings a bit further these days as air carriers are pulling out all the stops to ease the minds and wallets of passengers who choose to fly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite their eagerness to travel, some passengers may still be on the fence as far as booking their next flight is concerned. The good news is that most US airlines have created new guidelines and restructured their schedules to make travelers feel more confident.
This month, Vaughn College is highlighting five ways airlines have pivoted to make traveling a more passenger-friendly experience during the pandemic.
It comes as no surprise that the influx of customers seeking refunds was staggering, as travelers scrambled to cancel their existing flights that were booked prior to the pandemic striking the US in mid-March.
Here are two ways some airlines are accommodating their customers:
- Loosening restrictions on vouchers and travel credits
- Extending time frames for travelers to rebook their trips
Travelers want peace of mind when traveling by plane, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines have upped their game by making significant changes to their cleaning procedures to minimize the risk of passengers contracting the virus.
Here are steps some airlines are taking to maintain cleanliness on their planes:
- Electrostatic spraying with disinfectant before every flight, with close attention to high-touch areas like overhead bin handles and arm rests
- Deep cleaning each plane for six-to-seven hours every night, from back-to-front
- Holding flights if airline personnel feels cabin is not clean enough prior to boarding
On the ground experience
A smooth experience in the air begins with a positive experience on the ground. Travelers have been seeing significant changes at airports as they navigate through the coronavirus pandemic. Here are safety measures some travelers may notice which could help reduce the spread of the virus:
- Plexiglass shields at check-in counters and gates
- Frequent sanitation of touch points, including kiosks
- Touch-free transit, using mobile boarding passes
- Use of electrostatic spraying in the gate areas and jet bridges to help keep pre- and post-flight process areas sanitized
- Back-to-front boarding or limited number of passengers boarding at once
- For the lounges that are open, travelers should expect a “scaled-back” experience such as limited capacity, disposable glassware and pre-packaged snacks
If you haven’t flown in a while, you can expect changes to the onboard experience. Aside from the mandatory mask requirement, passengers may be noticing other significant changes including:
- Blocked middle seats on larger aircraft, and aisle seats on smaller ones
- Reduced passenger capacity
- Limited passenger and flight attendant interactions
- Refreshments may be provided in individually sealed bags only
Loyalty is more important now than ever before when it comes to airlines supporting their loyal fliers. Here is how some airlines with loyalty programs are supporting their members:
- Extending the elite status
- Earning bonuses via credit card spending
We hope this glimse into what airlines are doing today during the pandemic will help you prepare for your next flight.
Are you interested in a futureproof career? For over 85 years, Vaughn College has been training people from all walks of life to work in the aviation field. From pilots and air traffic controllers to aircraft maintenance mechanics and engineers, Vaughn offers the degrees that can give you a competitive edge in some of today’s hottest markets. Discover all that’s possible with an exciting career in engineering and technology, management or aviation. Apply today.