If it’s not already clear, the novel coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we live, work and in some days, the way we’ll fly. Let’s talk domestic air travel. Listen to what experts have to say about the notable changes in flying that are here to stay.
First things first, expect very stringent procedures for coronavirus screening. Airlines may come up with kiosks for testing body temperature and other common symptoms of COVID-19. If you’re trying to fly even with a mild fever, well, prepare for postponed travel plans. And in some hotspot places, there are chances you might be asked to quarantine yourself upon reaching, although the time period will vary from place to place.
Now that domestic flights are set to resume soon, expect a lot more room in your cabin as the seat next to you will likely be empty. Social distancing in flights could very much become a norm, but only temporarily. Because blocking every other seat will take a toll on the airlines’ return on investment which could lead to price hikes. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) hints at 30% of domestic flights coming into effect first, in the tier-I and tier-II cities before they scale up to cover the other cities.
Also Read: Is e-pass required for air travel?
But on the lighter side, you’ll see airlines offering cheap deals like you have never seen before, as flying is a demand and supply medium. We are talking really cheap deals here, what could only be best described as once-in-a-lifetime deals. However, be really practical about your travel dates and read the cancellation policies thoroughly before acting on your impulses to book the cheap flights you’re seeing.
Expect alternate check-in methods and limited operating terminals especially in major airports with more than one terminal. The Delhi International Airport, for instance, is prudently enforcing rules so as not to let the guards down on the novel pandemic. Social distancing markers, sanitisation kiosks, UV rays for baggage belts, frequent disinfection of washrooms and high-contact surfaces are on the cards and are here to stay. Along with usual boarding documents, health certificates might become mandatory, although not applicable everywhere.
As India stays hopeful for domestic flight resumption after May 17, it’s better that we are prepared for inconsistent regulations and requirements, as different states and even districts have their own way of dealing with coronavirus.