Expect Longer Lines and Waits at Airports Post-Covid-19 Pandemic
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen airports shift from busy hubs of thousands of people a day to unfamiliar and eerie ghost towns.
Orlando Airport for example, has seen a 96 percent drop in airport traffic as stay-at-home orders and risk of the virus have virtually halted most air travel national and internationally.
This decline in air travel is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and we already know that when airports and airlines begin seeing travelers again, things will be different.
Face masks, gloves, social distancing, increased sanitation practices, reductions in food and beverage service, contactless systems and even immunity passports may become the new norm.
Most people will probably be open to these changes as they’ll provide increased precautions for safety, but as airlines and airports focus on your wellbeing, the new norm may also require passengers to spend more time at airports ahead of their flights.
The implementation of extra hygienic practices, such as passenger health screening, social distancing or cleaning down airplanes or waiting areas, will take additional time.
As a result, passengers could be waiting longer in lines – to check in for flights, to go through security, and to board a flight – since fewer people will be allowed at a given time.
It seems though, at least in the aviation industry, people are expecting this.
Based on an information collected by Aviation Week during a COVID-19 webinar on hygienic practices, the vast majority of participants, 48 percent, expect to have to wait an additional 30 to 60 minutes at an airport due to new coronavirus safety practices.
Thirty-eight percent thought the wait would increase between 15 to 30 minutes, while 12 percent said more than 60 minutes.
There might not be a definitive answer yet on what the actual increase in time will be, but Phil Brown, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority said that passengers should plan for a 60-minute increase in wait time at airports.
Passengers can also expect that the new safety practices will likely be an industry-led effort by airports and airlines, as opposed to government agencies.
However, aviation industry leaders don’t want to do this alone – they are pressing Congress to mandate a standard for safety practices across the board.
In this era of uncertainty, having federally mandated practices could provide a major relief for the aviation industry and flying public. They could offer guidance for our nation’s airports and help put as ease concerns passengers have regarding flying again following the pandemic.
Getting Back to Work is an ongoing series on health and safety regarding COVID-19 from Xenophon Strategies, in partnership with Dr. David Hamer, a professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine with more than 30 years of experience in epidemiological diseases. Through the partnership Xenophon is working with Dr. Hamer to provide science-based recommendations and guidance on how employers, employees, and families should best respond to and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.