Airlines around the world have been particularly badly hit by the situation. British Airways and Virgin have announced redundancies and that they are pulling out of London Gatwick. As flying resumes they will have to bring planes out of furlough and there will be a focus on the most popular and profitable routes first.
To enable social distancing, there was talk of taking out seats, for instance the middle seat in a row of three. However, many airlines say they would have to put prices up too much to cover costs and so have no intention of implementing this policy. As flights resume we have seen a mixture of responses.
The focus instead is on hygiene with cleaner planes and new stricter protocols. Boarding practises will probably be modified and passengers may well be expected to wear face masks. Queues for the toilets will be discouraged or possibly banned. Seatback pockets will probably be empty – will this be the end of inflight magazines? Some airlines insist on face coverings being worn.
It is anticipated that the cost of flying will increase, at least in the short to medium term.
Before the pandemic there was already a move to flying less as travellers became increasingly aware of their carbon footprint. Will the combination of environmental awareness and virus concerns mean that we will fly less often?