Whether you travel one night a year, or over 100,000 miles a year, there’s no questioning that safety is of the utmost importance.
The industry is rising to this challenge. Airlines and hotels across the world are rolling out new cleaning programs meant to restore confidence among both leisure and business travelers. Let’s take a look at what these programs are, and how you're much safer today than you were at the start of the pandemic.
From an airline perspective, there’s a number of things they’re doing to help protect the traveler:
For hotels, here’s what they’re doing to help keep the traveler safe:
Based on feedback we’ve looked at from travelers, here’s where we think airlines stand overall at what they’re doing to keep travelers safe:
In particular, Delta has done a phenomenal job ensuring physical distancing on the aircraft. They’re now the carrier who has been blocking middle seats the longest, since the start of the pandemic. Most other airlines have removed these blocks as of this time.
In looking at hotels, here are the brands we think are doing the best job, among the biggest brands in the U.S.:
Hilton has done a great job of partnering with major brands, such as Lysol, to ensure rooms are disinfected to proper standards, and they were among the first to ensure loyalty status was protected during a time of slumped demand.
When airlines introduced increased cleaning and new policies onboard, it wasn’t just to provide a giant marketing push — the chances of catching COVID-19, in particular, are extremely unlikely onboard.
According to Arnold Barnett, a professor of statistics at MIT, quoted in a CNN article over the summer, the chances are close to 1 in 4,300 — a truly low figure that shouldn’t scare anyone from traveling by plane. In fact, your chances are even lower when the middle seat is blocked — it falls to 1 in 7,700.
Air travel is safe, and there’s no denying that catching something while in the air is very slim, but airlines still need to cover their bases and ensure they’re doing all they can to prevent transmission. With the rollout of the vaccine, forward bookings for the late spring and summer are beginning to show signs of recovery. Combined with the little risk of getting COVID onboard, the vaccine will help solidify the fact that air travel is safe. This is why travelers should book their future travels now to take advantage of reduced pricing -- in essence, book now and think later.
There’s a big difference between what airlines and hotels are doing to restore safety, vs. vs how much impact each of these measures have on truly moving the needle to increase safety.
It’s no secret that airlines and hotels across the globe have been touting new policies, procedures and marketing pushes over the past few months. These organizations have been some of the hardest hit with the pandemic, and the recovery process will undoubtedly be long and slow. Travel will be forever transformed, and there will likely be a new normal in the coming years, featuring new cleaning methods on airplanes, new disinfecting regimens in hotel rooms, and new human-to-human interaction suggestions as we begin to re-group and get back to our normal ways.
Whatever is in store for us, travel partners in nearly every corner of the club will be ensuring a safe experience for travelers as they take to the skies and roads during 2021 and beyond.