Fancy a Holiday? What Global Travel Will Look Like Post-COVID.
Travel will never be the same again. Automologist MAC paints us a picture of what it will be like.
The new normal?
If you have been quarantined with kids over the past few weeks—I have—you may well feel like a holiday is in order. I doubt, though, that many of us will be going anyplace anytime soon. Even for folks like me who came from overseas and haven’t seen their family since before the virus, it is not going to be easy. Going back to the UK right now would see me quarantined for 14 days when I arrive there and then for another 14 days when I return to Malaysia. That is, assuming I could get a flight.
It is hard to say when travel will start again in the post-Wuhan-Flu world. The Philippines banned all international arrivals last weekend due to lack of quarantine space for its repatriated overseas workers, who are now jobless due to economic downturns. Argentina has also recently extended flight bans in and out until September and the UK, as I indicated above, will require all arriving passengers to be quarantined for fourteen days.
I have in my mind beaches with loungers separated by plexiglass screens, constant temperature checks, sanitizer spray-downs and hand cleansers everywhere. Travellers will not start to travel again until they can afford it but, more importantly, until they feel safe. So, to create that fuzzy safe feeling, here is what you can expect:
Between strangers, there will be mandatory distancing of at least one metre, unless you live with that person. Throughout the world, and not just at airports, the bottle of hand sanitizer has become ubiquitous. In the US, the Transport Security Administration is advising all passengers to wash their hands for 20 seconds before and after security screening.
Hong Kong Airport has gone one further with a full-body sanitizer being trialled out—perhaps we will start to see these at the entrance of public buildings soon. These take 40 seconds to completely sanitize a person, which may not seem like a long time but will cause a heck of a bottleneck in the flow of people throughout the airport.
Various airports already are trialling killer cleaning robots as well. Okay, when I say killer, what I mean is that they will move about autonomously shooting microbes with UVC light. The same technology is already in use at some more advanced hospitals.
The headlong rush for airports to dispense with as much human contact as possible will continue unabated and self-check-in will become the norm, thus eliminating more people from the need to work. Of course, all travel hubs will be festooned with posters reminding us on how to keep safe and some will offer free blood tests prior to travel—this is already happening in Dubai with results within ten minutes apparently.
All of this is before you get onto the plane. Once on the plane, the cheery smile of the cabin staff will be shrouded by a surgical mask and, of course, your ability to smile back will be likewise shrouded. On-plane cleanliness is likely to have improved with all airlines already having upped the ante on onboard cleaning and so you are likely to sit there sniffing that pungent aroma of disinfectant and being served by staff in full PPE—well, at least if you are on Korean Airlines whose staff will be wearing full protective clothing for the time being.
A lot of airlines are not booking middle seats at the moment, so no need to worry about whose armrest it is, but don’t expect this to carry on for long or we will see the sort of prices for airfares that would become prohibitive.
So, when you arrive for your beach holiday…well, I joked about the plexiglass above but apparently there are some beach resorts in Italy where this is being planned, along with only allowing every other room to be occupied, and a reduced number of tables in a restaurant, which I presume will lead to much higher bills for the dining experience.
Croatia is going one further with plans to have beaches segregated for tourists from different countries and creating effective tourist corridors to stop cross-contamination. The fact is, though, that many more of us will forgo the international holiday for the foreseeable future and opt for a staycation.
The new tan line picture….?