DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation, according to industry groups, thanks to disruptions and safety concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
And as travelers slowly take back to the skies this summer, airlines are looking for ways to woo them back for the long haul.
“We know they’re excited to come back,” said travel trends expert Kelly Soderlund. “It’s really just a matter of making sure their health comes first.”
Soderlund said the majority of customers surveyed cite health and safety as a top concern about flying.
The airlines are taking steps to ease those fears, such as mask requirements, rigorous cleaning policies, new air filtration systems and fewer touch points.
Southwest Airlines is also pledging to keep flight capacity reduced through at least October 31.
“What can the travel industry do, collectively, to help users feel safe?” Soderlund said. “So this will be anything from temperature monitoring at the gate. Is there testing at the gate? Testing upon arrival?”
She said airlines could do rapid COVID-19 testing before and after you board.
She also believes digital advancements such a hands-free boarding passes will be here to stay.
For the hemorrhaging airline industry, these may all be ways to try to ensure survival.
“The airlines that come though with the technological advances that allow travelers to feel confident when they’re flying will be the ones that end up at the top of the list at the end of Covid,” she said.