TPG UK readers reveal what it will take to get them flying again
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The coronavirus pandemic has completely upended the travel industry. The aviation industry, specifically, has been left reeling. Airlines around the world have been forced to completely suspend operations in some cases, while in others, airlines have prematurely retired entire fleets of aircraft.
But, as we pass the middle of May, there’s hope on the horizon. In the past week, several airlines have laid out their plans for a return to service. Of course, a lot depends on how airlines are able to restore service, to where and when.
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With that, airlines will have to go a long way to convince passengers that it’s safe to travel. As such, some European carriers have even announced that they’ll require passengers to wear face masks. But what will it take for travellers to get back on board?
We asked our TPG UK Lounge members to share what it’ll take for them to get back to flying. Here’s a look at some of our favourite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.)
When there’s widespread testing, a vaccine or required face masks
“If there was an absolutely reliable test that could tell if you had or were a carrier of the virus even before symptoms, and a clear result was the only allowance to fly, then it would be fine and we could go back to similar ways of operating, knowing everyone else around you had passed the same test. But that’s unlikely, and for me, a mask or a temperature check or even a free middle seat just can’t convince me at the moment. I long to fly, and can’t wait to travel again. But being in a higher-risk category, I suspect it’ll be some time before I see non-U.K. shores again. I just hope my Companion Vouchers and Avois haven’t all run out/devalued too much by then!” — Charlotte W.
“Only when there is a vaccine. Until then, I will be supporting U.K. hotels and restaurants.” — Julie W.
“Masks on board is a sensible idea for short-haul flights. It’s less practical on long-haul flights where people are far more likely to eat/drink and need to take the mask off.” — Anthony M.
When they feel safe
“Personally, I will only fly again when I feel safe to. Masks, distancing, temperature checks, empty middle seat, etc. might get people booking and flying, but until Covid-19 numbers are at a minimum, I shan’t be taking the risk. No vacation is worth that!” — Fiona B.
“For me, it’s more about transparency and the airline and/or airport communicating all that they are doing to keep their customers and employees safe going above the government guidelines. Right now, some airlines are fantastic at communicating through emails, social media or their website regarding their cleaning procedures, whereas other airlines are doing nothing or just saying something more generic. I would feel more comfortable knowing and seeing all the information from the airline or airport — the more transparent, the better, as that would convince me.” — Dhiren P.
When travellers are allowed entry to a destination
“Until the FCO states travel is OK, I won’t be booking anything. I don’t like to travel if I cant be covered under insurance!” — Jaipal S.S.
“It’s restrictions on what happens when you arrive somewhere that will hold me back. Ten days in quarantine on a 14-day holiday will be the deciding factor if travelling internationally.” — Richard H.
“As soon as the government says I can go, and the destination will let me travel, then I’m on the plane with a mask and a bar of soap!” — Dave H.
“When I think about travelling again, I would need the destination to be worth visiting in order for me to want to travel. If the Spanish government let me in this summer to a beach holiday destination, I would only want to go if I could do what I wanted there. For me, there’s not much point going to the beach if I can’t actually use the beach. If i can’t sight-see, go to restaurants and bars, beaches, socialise etc because the destination is still in semi-lockdown then for me there’s no point going even if I can get on a plane.” — Ben Smithson
“As soon as my home country, my destination country and — if required — all subsequent transit countries say I can go.” — Matthew T.
Those not travelling for the foreseeable future
“For me, it would be more or less business as usual before I want to fly again. Much as I love flying, I know I will not enjoy it going through extra health checks, wearing a mask, eating a pre-packed sandwich and even more additional screening upon arrival. So for me, I will probably just wait that bit longer. Ask me again in six months and I may be missing flying enough to have changed my mind.” — Jens F.
“Not sure what they can do to make me feel safe. On the first of my two flights home right before lockdown, I had a guy in the seat behind me cough his way from SFO to IAH. That didn’t make for a relaxing flight, and the empty seat next to him didn’t help.” — Bill E.
Now is the time
“I’ll fly now.” — Jacquie M.D.
“I’d fly yesterday! Wouldn’t be concerned about sitting next to someone and definitely don’t want to wear any PPE. Although I’m one of those young people who think they’re invincible.” — Josh W.
Featured photo by AJ_Watt/Getty Images.
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