Air travellers’ biggest fears

Research released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed what worries travellers most about travel during the pandemic and what they’d need to feel safe while flying during or after the coronavirus crisis.

The top three fears travellers have when on the ground are being in a crowded bus/train on the way to the aircraft (59 per cent), queuing at check-in/security or boarding (42 per cent) and using airport restrooms (38 per cent).

While on board planes, travellers most fear sitting next to someone who might be infected (65 per cent), followed by using restrooms (42 per cent) and breathing the air on a plane (37 per cent).

Two in five (37 per cent) said extra COVID-19 screening at departure airports would make them feel safer when flying, while one in three (34 per cent) said they would like to see mandatory wearing of face masks and 33 per cent would like social distancing measures enforced on aircraft.

When asked what they’d be willing to do to stay safe while flying, 43 per cent of travellers said they would undergo temperature checks, 42 per cent said they’d wear a mask while travelling, and 40 per cent would check in online to minimise interactions at the airport.

Almost four in 10 said they would take a COVID-19 test prior to travelling and 38 per cent would make sure to sanitise their seating area.

“People are clearly concerned about COVID-19 when travelling. But they are also reassured by the practical measures being introduced by governments and the industry under the take-off guidance developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These include mask wearing, the introduction of contactless technology in travel processes and screening measures,” said IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

“This tells us that we are on the right track to restoring confidence in travel. But it will take time. To have maximum effect, it is critical that governments deploy these measures globally.”

Other highlights of the study include:

  • 45 per cent said they would return to travel within a few months of the pandemic subsiding
  • most travellers plan to travel to see family and friends (57 per cent), holiday (56 per cent) or do business (55 per cent) as soon as possible
  • 66 per cent said that they would travel less for leisure and business in the post-pandemic world
  • 64 per cent would postpone travel until economic factors improved
  • 57 per cent of travellers think air quality on planes is dangerous, although 55 per cent understood that it was as clean as the air in a hospital operating theatre
  • 85 per cent of travellers are concerned about being quarantined while travelling
  • 17 per cent said that they would be willing to undergo quarantine.

“Quarantine is a demand killer. Keeping borders closed prolongs the pain by causing economic hardship well beyond airlines,” said Mr de Juniac.

“If governments want to restart their tourism sectors, alternative risk-based measures are needed. Many are built into the ICAO take-off guidelines, like health screening before departure to discourage symptomatic people from travelling. Airlines are helping this effort with flexible rebooking policies.”

Read more at Travel Talk

What concerns you most about flying during or after the pandemic

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