Airports Taking More Sanitary Precautions for Passengers in 2021
By Matt Martella
Aviation marketing consultant SimpliFlying is looking to make major changes to traveling by airplane.
In their recent report titled “The Rise of Sanitized Travel,” SimpliFlying has listed over 70 different areas in the passenger’s boarding process and on the plane that are expected to change or introduced from scratch to restore faith in flying after COVID-19
What is a “Sanitagged” Bag?
A Sanitagged bag is a bag that has been sanitized and tagged once it has been sanitized. There are two steps to the process of “Sanitagging” bags.
First, bags go through fogging or a UV disinfection process which is added to the entrance of the baggage conveyor systems, which will ensure that no germs enter the baggage conveyor system.
Next, the bag will be labeled as being properly sanitized and cleared to go on the conveyor belt.
Although the idea of a UV disinfection might seem unrealistic, The Indira Gandhi National Airport is already starting the process of installing a UV disinfection system for luggage.
“Welcome on board, this is your in-flight janitor speaking,” seems like an odd phrase at first, but it is something you could be hearing on your next flight.
The role of in-flight janitor will be to keep places like bathrooms and other hi-touch areas clean, fog the cabin regularly, and serve as a visual reminder to passengers that the airline is taking every step they can to ensure a sanitary flight.
The in-flight janitor may also be responsible for providing clean and air-purifying fragrances on the flight to keep the plane as clean and sanitary as possible.
Individual Notifications for Boarding
To avoid large gatherings in the boarding area, some airlines are considering sending phone notifications to passengers to let them know when they can board. The passenger would need an app of whichever airline they are flying with to receive the notification, and the airport would have to offer free WIFI for all.
American Airlines and Delta are already ahead of the pack on this system. The two airlines have been experimenting with this method of boarding not long before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Added Security Requirements
In addition to current security measures that check for weapons or other dangerous objects, now passengers will be tested on their health as well.
For one, all passengers will need to head to the check-in counter to have an instant assessment of their health (Like Biomind CT scan). This may include blood tests, disinfectant tunnels, and thermal scanners to determine if the passenger is fit-to-fly.
No More Choosing Your Seat
Instead of choosing your seat when buying your ticket online, seats will be assigned by specialists to optimize in-flight distancing. Passengers will also be handed gloves and masks to be worn during the course of the flight.
Tray and carry-on luggage will all need to be disinfected before take-off. Passengers are expected to get to their terminal one hour before the flight leaves and should maintain social distancing while waiting in the terminal.
With the new hygiene-enhanced security precautions implemented, passengers should prepare to get to the airport even earlier than they are used to.
SimpliFlying predicts that it will take passengers four hours to clear every security check before they can board their flights!
A Touchless Cabin
All passengers, regardless of what class they are sitting in, will receive packed and sealed meals to prevent the virus from spreading. Touchless vending machines in the boarding areas might be implemented so passengers can order meals that can be eaten in the lobby or brought onto the flight.
Personal devices will also become more popular on flights because passengers will probably be less likely to touch seat-back screens. Passengers can also say goodbye to cash transactions and printed, in-flight magazines.
What Happens Upon Landing
Passengers will have to go through more hygiene security checks upon landing, including a thermal scanner that will detect fevers. Once the health/security tests are cleared, passengers will be given immunity passports so that they can safely enter whatever country they have landed in.
Aircraft will no longer just take a half an hour of preparation for their next flight. Instead, aircraft will have to go through substantial cleaning between flights to keep the plane sanitized.
Changing Times for Travelers
The whole world is experiencing a time of unprecedented change, and SimpliFlying is doing what it can to keep
airlines up to date with people’s newfound skepticism towards traveling. According to SimpliFlying CEO Shashank Nigam:
“9/11 changed travel completely with added security and sanitary checks, and longer check-in times. The impact of COVID-19 on air travel will be even more far-reaching when it comes to sanitation and cleanliness. Just like when security checks were introduced, there will be two distinct audiences airlines will need to convince: Authorities and the traveling public,” Nigam said.
“Getting large numbers of people flying again will depend on giving them the peace of mind that they won’t be rubbing shoulders – or bumping elbows in Economy – with infectious fellow travelers.
“In addition, Government authorities and airport operators will want to know that airlines adhere to a certain standard of cleanliness and hygiene before offering up landing slots,” he continued.
Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, airlines will be seeing many major changes to all aspects of what was once the routine boarding and flying processes. Most people now realize that the world is not safe from a pandemic, and SimpliFlying is doing what they can to meet people’s raised expectations of airline safety.
Matt Martella is a writer living in Worcester, Massachusetts and has written for the UMass Daily Collegian and GoNOMAD. He has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He loves to travel and has lived as a student in Dublin, Ireland and Oxford, England. He looks forward to exploring more parts of the world (specifically in Europe and Asia) and aims to make a profession out of writing about his experiences.