Airlines across the world are having to come up with new and innovative ways to instill confidence in travelers as the industry continues to face near-apocalyptic demand. We’ve seen airlines expedite the process of shrinking their fleets, staff, and services to conserve cash, but we’ve seem some significant cash outlay on the safety side of things. This has included mask mandates, significantly enhanced aircraft cleaning, and of course social distancing by limiting capacity.
There is no complete solution yet on how to altogether prevent COVID-10 positive travelers from getting on the plane, but there have been significant advances on how to at least eliminate symptomatic people from getting on. Emirates experimented with introducing a rapid COVID test for travelers on its flights, though they had some serious issues with the false negative rates. According to the National, Etihad seems to be now trying a contact less check-in tool at Abu Dhabi Airport which checks all of your vitals, including your respiratory rate. It should be noted that Etihad has also launched an at home COVID-19 test as another measure to encourage a return to normalcy.
Check out the video demonstration of the new technology:
Overall, I do think this technology will prevent symptomatic patients from getting on the plane with greater accuracy. And so this combined with a mask mandate should reduce the spread of the virus on board aircraft, since coughing and sneezing, common to symptomatic patients, project viral particles the farthest. It’s nice to see Etihad trying their best to use whatever technology is available to make air travel safer.
With that being said, I do believe that we won’t see air travel return back to 2019 levels, before a vaccine or some kind of breakthrough in the form of a one minute COVID test. Either of those would certainly bring us closer to controlling this pandemic.