Travel expert Johnny Jet shares his thoughts on how the coronavirus will change the way we travel in the future, from the rise in staycations to better manners on planes.
Rapid COVID-19 testing for airline passengers is just one example of how the travel industry will adapt to the coronavirus crisis, says travel expert Johnny Jet.
Speaking with global chauffeur company Blacklane in an Instagram Live interview on Thursday, the travel blogger said stricter procedures, such as Emirates’ new COVID-19 testing, would become the new normal.
“After 9/11, travel changed, and I think that’s what’s going to happen now, until they find a vaccine,” he said.
Jet also said Delta Airlines’ decision to block the middle seats on their flights showed how other airlines were also tackling the issue.
“I think spacing is going to be important, no-one is going to want to get on a plane if it’s going to be cramped,” he said.
“My little tip in the future is going to be booking in the last row, so no-one is going to cough on me.”
Cleaning planes in-between flights and wearing masks while flying were factors Jet said he would like to see carry on in the future.
“The other new normal will be that everyone is going to be wearing face masks or face coverings,” he said.
“I think the biggest (thing) is that people are going to be much more hygienic. They are going to wear masks, wash their hands, be more courteous.”
The year of the staycation
With variations in border controls between countries and many feeling nervous about flying at all right now, Jet said 2020 could be the year of the staycation.
“I think international travel is going to change because everyone’s border is going to be different,” he said.
“I think when you travel…you are going to need a visa when you come in, you are going to need to prove you don’t have COVID(sic)…or do a health check on arrival.
“My crystal ball is telling me that this is the year of the staycation.”
So what could get travelers back on planes faster? Jet said good price deals, but warned low prices would likely only be short-term.
“There will be deals for the first few months, because airlines are trying to get some money in their pockets so they’ll offer these deals because no-one is booking right now,” he said.
“But once they do start booking, and if this thing bounces back, the airlines have cut capacity so…prices are definitely going to go up let’s say, next summer, because there’s not going to be many routes.”
Jet said while rideshares and public transport would take a hit, private chauffeur services such as Blacklane would help those traveling for business.
“Business travelers are not going to want to mess around…they want to make sure they are going to be in a car that has just been cleaned,” he said.
Travel advisors could come out as big winners
Travelers are not going to want to deal with changes, delays, or refunds in their upcoming trips, especially with recent changes to airline policies, Jet said.
“Travel advisors and agents are going to come out as big winners in this,” he said.
“People are not going to want to deal with changes in their flights, trying to get a refund, or trying to keep up with all the delays and cancellations when a good travel advisor will do all the dirty work for you.”
He said travelers should also be aware that if your flight is canceled or “significantly delayed”, regardless of whether the carrier is foreign, you are due a “full refund, not a travel voucher”.
Leisure and business travel expectations
With the boom of Zoom and video conferencing in general, Jet expects leisure travel to bounce back a lot faster than business travel.
“I think business travelers right now are starting to get the hang of Zoom and video conferencing,” he said.
“They also realize how much money they’re saving, they also don’t want to take the chance of getting sick by traveling just for a meeting.
“I have friends who live in New York who would fly to Australia or New Zealand just for a meeting…not even stay the night.
“I think those days are long gone, are over, at least for the short-term.”
Jet said he has been “embracing this time at home,” despite having to cancel a planned family trip to Hawaii, which was going to be his daughter’s first trip.
“This is a really weird and terrible time but also a great time where people are reflecting on how lucky we were to have the lives we had before,” he said.
A “silver-lining” from being forced to stay home is that we’ve had time to reflect on our previous travel behavior and, hopefully, learn from it, Jet said.
“So many people have just been flying around the world, literally going to Asia from the U.S. for a meeting or just to have dinner,” he said.
“I think that’s going to change because they have been forced to stay home and they have realized the damage they’ve been doing to the planet and also how nice it is to have a much calmer life…instead of doing all these short, quick trips.”