We recently published our Future of Travel series of articles looking at various aspects of the travel industry, the effects of Covid-19 and the environment.
Main picture credit Barbara Maier on Unsplash
We received a number of questions from you – here are the best of them.
Read the rest of the series by clicking the links below.
Colin K asked “Will airlines be taking down people’s weights?”
For safety reasons, airlines calculate an aircraft’s weight and balance, including cargo, supplies, fuel and an estimate of crew and passengers weight.
For many years airlines have used the same calculations but there are growing concerns, especially from authorities in America, that these calculations are outdated and increasingly inaccurate. Much of the population of the world, especially those flying, is getting heavier.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US has been looking into the matter for a number of years is now looking at introducing improved weight data. The FAA says that surveys should be done at airports that represents at least 15% of an airline’s daily departures. This must include connecting passengers.
It is important to understand that, at the moment, it looks as if it will be completely voluntary and passengers would be selected at random and able to opt-out of taking part.
These surveys would need to be completed at least every three years, so unless you are a regular traveller, it is unlikely you will be weighed.
There is the option however for airlines to collect weights of all passengers rather than doing a survey. This could however be done either by weighing passengers or simply a verbal question by airport staff.
In fact some airlines have already done weight surveys of passengers to help with their calculations. For one week in April this year, all Air New Zealand passengers were weighed prior to boarding. This is part of a 5-year process required by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority
A major concern is that if the new figures are drastically different from previous estimates, capacity of planes may be reduced, increasing prices.
At the present time it looks as if regular weighing will not happen although you may, every now and then, find yourself being asked to be weighed.
Sukhi asked “What happens if we have a negative PCR test as required on departure but then test positive when we arrive at our destination?”
Generally speaking each country or territory will have their own rules here. However expect some sort of quarantine as a minimum.
It is probable that there would be a 7 to 14 day quarantine period, either in an approved hotel or hospital. Travellers would only then be allowed to continue when they have had one, or in some cases, multiple negative tests.
It would not matter if you were vaccinated or not either. The vaccine is designed to reduce chances of the inoculated person getting Covid-19 and reduce the impact if they are. It may reduce transmission, but a person who tests positive will still be a danger in spreading the virus locally.
Costs for quarantine and tests could well be passed onto the traveller adding further misery to the traveller.
Tam asks “Will middle seats be left vacant on flights?”
Some airlines have already moved back to full, or near-full, capacity on their aircraft and we expect those who have not, to do so over the next few months.
Some early studies suggested a slight increase in risk if all seats were taken on a plane, but these were done without mask wearing being required.
The current thinking is that there is minimal additional risk by airlines selling all seats.
If you are concerned about the risk we suggest that you select a window seat where possible, air flow tends to be higher here, or aim for the rear of the plane where there are likely to be more spare seats.
Brenda asks “How do I ensure that my travel insurance will cover me for all eventualities?”
The situation will vary depending on where you live and where you are travelling to.
In the UK a good place to check out the best travel insurance websites is at Money saving Expert, it also has a good guide for people elsewhere in the world to check for insurance available to them.
The reality is that very few, if any, policies will cover you for every eventuality at the moment.
In the UK for example most policies will not cover you if you travel to a destination against the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), even if it was ok to travel when you booked.
They also won’t cover you in national, regional or local lockdowns change preventing you from travel.
Always read the small print and exclusions lists and compare policies carefully before purchase.
Kristian ask “I understand that many countries will probably require travellers to be vaccinated. But what about children?”
Again it is difficult to give a definitive answer as the situation will vary depending on the destination. Things may also change in the future.
At the moment it looks as if most countries are saying that children can travel, with a vaccinated adult, but must have evidence of a negative PCR test prior to arrival in the destination.
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