The New Airport Experience

When your out of state guests finally walk through your doors again, you might notice that they’re a little more tired and stressed than before. If experts are correct, the entire travel experience is about to change as a result of Covid-19 and it’s not for the weak of heart. 

Here are five predictions for air travel that could mean added stress for your guests.

Say goodbye to the goodbye

If you’re the .01% of the population that likes to drop off or pick up friends and family at the airport, you’re about to become a taxi-service only. Why? You will no longer be allowed into the airport unless you are getting on a plane. With social distancing likely to remain in effect for months to come, having fewer people in airports will mean safer travel for those getting on a plane.

Expect health screenings

Many countries, including Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and Canada, put health screening procedures in place in airports following the outbreak of SARS. With Covid-19, we expect to see all countries screening travelers upon departure and arrival. Thermal cameras are being used today in Heathrow, Puerto Rico and Seattle to scan a crowd for a feverish temperature but experts predict that most airports will implement hand-held thermometers to increase travelers’ trust that people are being actively screened for illness. Airports are actively hiring for temperature-takers in airports around the globe.

Do you have a reservation?

What’s the first thing you think of when I ask you to remember a line you recently stood in? For most people, it’s the TSA security line. While Clear and TSA precheck help many people cut down on waiting times, the area is commonly jammed with travelers. Regine Westin, the Americas airport planning leader for engineering firm Arup, suggests that passengers may soon book appointments to go through security screenings, as they do today in Montreal’s airport. In an interview with Conde Nast Traveler, she says, “I can see that and even more sophisticated versions becoming more widespread so that the actual area that’s dedicated for security screening is able to exist without crowding.”

Walk this way

Like grocery stores, airports are starting to control how traffic flows to ensure that travelers maintain social distance. Arrows and other visual clues will be prominently displayed in terminals to designate where people should walk in order to keep traffic flowing and avoid face to face contact. 

Show me your papers

Phone, wallet, passport, keys… immunity document. SimpliFlying, an airport marketing strategy firm, predicts that upon arrival, international passengers will “need to show some form of immunity passport to border control agents”. This document is already something the International Air Transport Association has advocated for and we expect to hear more about it as governments begin relaxing travel restrictions. 

All of these policies will likely drive more stress and anxiety at the airport. When guests finally make it to your hotel it’s up to you to show them that the hard part is over. Welcome them warmly, with empathy and ensure them that good times are ahead. For more expert predictions, check out more articles on the Revinate blog

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