Avid travelers, this could be worrying news! According to recent reports, airfares are likely to shoot up post the lockdown, courtesy social distancing! The first few days post lockdown could see airfares skyrocketing, at least 3 times the pre-COVID ticket costs.
Social Distancing May Lead To Spike In Air Fares Post Lockdown
In an attempt to prevent a relapse of the virus post the lockdown, airlines have to adhere to social distancing norms. Flights will now have to operate with only one-third occupancy to ensure maximum social distancing between passengers. This means that only one passenger will be allowed in a row of three seats.
Therefore, aviation authorities are evaluating the idea of seating passengers in subsequent rows diametrically opposite to one another. For example, if a passenger is seated in the aisle seat of a row, then the passenger of the next row would be seated near the window. This will cause the seating capacity of a 180-seater plane to fall by two-thirds, i.e. to 60.
And of course, to compensate for such a huge loss, the tickets prices will be hiked. According to officials, this could be anywhere between 1.5 to 3 times.
Not Just Onboard, Airports To Follow Strict Social Distancing Norms
As per a senior official, having one vacant seat between two passengers may not be an adequate way of social distancing. According to him, onboard social distancing norms will be gradually eased once medicines or vaccines to contain the virus are developed.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) too is preparing a flight resumption plan post the lockdown. The regulator is likely to seek a distance of 1-5 meters between passengers throughout the airport. This includes entry gates, check-in counters, security checks, immigration counters, and boarding gates.