- The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly transformed the way we fly, if we’re flying at all.
- Though air travel has seen a significant decrease, airlines have scrambled to implement new protective measures to make passengers and crew feel safe during the pandemic.
- Around the world, airlines are administering temperature checks, requiring passengers wear face masks, and implementing new ways to disinfect planes and terminals.
Flying during the coronavirus pandemic is an entirely new experience.
In a matter of months, the pandemic has significantly transformed the way airlines and passengers operate. Though air travel has seen a drastic decline, people around the world are still booking necessary flights, and airlines have had to implement new safety policies for customers and crew members.
In most cases, wearing a face mask on flights has become customary.
Thermal body scanners, electronic temperature checks, sanitation stations, and sweeping disinfection policies are just a few of the many new practices that have become commonplace in airports around the world.
These photos show what it looks like to fly right now.
In Brazil, an empty runway is seen at the Guarulhos International Airport on May 19.
Airport restaurants have been left abandoned, as well. In this photo, dining areas at the Hong Kong International Airport are completely shuttered.
But people are still booking flights for necessary travel. In this photo at an airport in Spain, passengers are seen lining up six feet apart to check in at an otherwise empty terminal.
Thermal scanners were previously used in some airports during the SARS outbreak in 2003, and the Ebola scare in 2014. Rather than having airport personnel physically scan people before a flight, thermal scanners can monitor body heat on a television screen from a distance.
Source: LA Times
Many airports around the world are also administering temperature checks via electronic thermometers for both passengers and crew members.
Here, passengers at Charles de Gaulle are seen spaced out every other seat.
In many cases, airline workers have begun wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields, and hand sanitizing stations have been set up throughout airports.
Some airlines, including Air France and American Airlines, are even giving out face masks to customers for free.
Wearing a face mask on flights has become the new norm. Most major US and international airlines are recommending the use of a face mask, and the International Air Transport Association has said it supports the mandatory use of masks.
In some cases, flights have been left under-booked. In April, over half of flights in the US were canceled, and fewer than one in 10 seats were filled on some planes.
Source: The Guardian
But as states and countries begin easing up on stay-at-home orders, flights are starting to become more crowded.
Airlines have been sending personnel in full PPE to clean off seats, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
The same goes for airport terminals and check-in areas.
At the Hong Kong International airport, sanitation robots are being used to disinfect and kill the virus on frequently touched surfaces with ultraviolet light.
Source: LA Times
Once passengers arrive, most countries recommend they self-quarantine for 14 days to keep from spreading the virus if they have it.