If you’re a plane-spotter, business has been a little slow lately.
The skies are almost as quiet as they were after 9/11 when the airline industry was intentionally closed down for a time while the Bush administration figured out how to make travel safe again.
The Wall Street Journal reports demand for flights barely has a pulse.
Demand has shrunk to a sliver of what it was before the coronavirus pandemic hit, with passenger volumes down over 95%. Domestic flights are just 12.5% full on average, according to Airlines for America, an industry trade group. Many take off with just a handful of people onboard.
Getting back on a plane in the time of COVID-19 may be as scary as it was after 9/11. Then the threat was terroristic psychopaths; now the threat is terrifying pathogens.
In an attempt to make skittish travelers feel more secure about climbing back into a flying cigar-shaped Petrie dish, airlines have begun announcing their plans for getting people back in the fuselage that potentially could contain a fusillade of deadly germs.
American Airlines has announced it will be handing out face masks as passengers board most jetliners beginning next week. You’ll want to bring your own since masks won’t initially be available on every flight.
Delta says it “strongly” encourages customers to wear masks and will make them available at the gate.
JetBlue has become the first airline to require passengers to wear masks.
United and JetBlue require flight attendants to wear masks.
Delta and American will require flight attendants to wear masks in certain circumstances.
Preventing passengers from booking seats next to others.
Limiting the number of middle seats.
Eliminating the exchange of germy cups and garbage by eliminating food service.
JetBlue President and CEO Joanna Geraghty says, “Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting those around you. This is the new flying etiquette.”
A manufacturer has come up with an idea of how to quickly clean airliner interiors with just a walk-through with a cart beaming ultraviolet rays that kill pathogens. It’s the kind of technology already being used for disinfecting medical and lab equipment. It’s also the kind of technology the media derided President Trump for when he said light could kill the Wuhan virus. So far the company hasn’t announced any airline buyers.
could reverse airplane seating be the new way to fly post COVID-19? https://t.co/S9MULR7v93 pic.twitter.com/xbofUxQGuI
— designboom (@designboom) April 28, 2020
To keep people socially distanced there are all kinds of ideas popping up such as reversible seats on planes, but that hasn’t been adopted yet.
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