Along with making masks obligatory on board flights, airlines are also taking other unprecedented precautions to reassure travelers that they can once again take to the skies. The question is will these measures, which seem drastic on the one hand and quirky on the other, become new norms for air travel?
Blocking out middle seats
The middle seat in a row of three has always been something of a nightmare for people flying alone. If you are unfortunate enough to have had the experience, you will no doubt remember being hemmed in on one side by a lucky passenger with a view of the sky and on the other by someone who could at least take advantage of extra space in the corridor to stretch his or her legs. Well one possible positive outcome of the covid-19 crisis is these middle seats may soon be gone for good. Delta Airlines has just announced that it will prolong its policy of not selling middle seats to single passengers until the end of this year. However, people traveling in groups will still be able to book them.
Spraying aircraft with ultra-powerful disinfectant
American Airlines has just received an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorization to spray aircraft in its fleet with a new generation anti-microbial product that can effectively eliminate the coronavirus on surfaces for up to a week.
A special elbow doorknob
For its part, All Nippon Airways (ANA) is experimenting with a new device to make going to the bathroom on its flights an entirely hands-free experience. The new innovation is currently being tested in Tokyo's Haneda airport, where travelers are being asked what they think of it. If the feedback is positive, it could soon be installed in all of ANA's aircraft. The overall goal is to create a restroom door that can be opened and closed by passengers using their elbows. The prototype on show at the airport slides from left to right instead of folding open and shut on hinges, as these doors usually do. Once inside the restroom, passengers will not need to touch anything because all of ANA's aircraft are already equipped with automatic faucets.