SOCIAL Distancing at 40,000 Feet

During these times of isolation and physical distancing, it’s not unreasonable to wonder how this might work at 40,000 feet.

Even though most of the world’s commercial passenger aircraft are parked and patiently awaiting the restart of the global economy, many airlines still have a few aircraft servicing essential routes. So, if you find yourself on one, how will you ensure a safe, social distance from the other passengers?

In what might just be the best silver lining in all of this, airlines are leaving their dreaded middle-seats empty.

“Flying is going to feel different for a while yet. Fewer flights, fewer people, fewer everything. But, on the up-side, more space for everyone.” 

The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

Or as Virgin Australia describes it, “Virgin Australia has implemented new social distancing measures on all scheduled domestic flights until further notice. Guests will have the seat next to them blocked as part of the new social distancing policy.”

Similarly at Qantas, whilst acknowledging that the risk of contracting Coronavirus on board an aircraft is regarded as low, “social distancing has been put in place across all flights.”

Our friends at US carrier Delta Air Lines also recently supplied this update around its new COVID-19 practices and policies for all flights through the end of June:

  • Reducing the total number of passengers per flight.
  • Blocking middle seats in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select.
  • Modifying boarding process so customers will now be boarded by row, starting from the rear of the aircraft.

For information about how your favourite airlines are dealing with social distancing and other parts of their services, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US for a chat.

We’d love to hear from you.

QANTAS’ Schedule Change Announcements

Back in February, Qantas announced a suite of temporary reductions to flights in response to a drop in demand due to Coronavirus, cutting capacity to its Asia services by 16%.

“It’s a sad reality at the moment that demand has softened to such a point that airlines, like Qantas, are compelled to cut capacity,” said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“We are pleased to note that Qantas’ US and UK routes remain unaffected, and we look forward to a swift return to regular scheduling.”

Peter Hosper

Those cuts impacted flights from Australia to mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore, and included:

  • Sydney-Shanghai (the airline’s sole route to mainland China) – Suspended.
  • Sydney-Hong Kong – Reduced from 14 return flights per week to 7.
  • Brisbane-Hong Kong – Reduced from 7 return flights per week to 4.
  • Melbourne-Hong Kong – Reduced from 7 return flights per week to 5.
  • Melbourne-Singapore – Flights to be operated by Boeing 787s instead of larger Airbus 380s (approx. 250 less seats per flight).

On 06 March, the airline announced further schedule changes.

The changes, which start next week and continue until the end of March, are:

  • Sydney-Hong Kong – 8 return cancellations.
  • Sydney-Sapporo – 5 return cancellations (seasonal service).
  • Melbourne-Auckland – 5 return cancellations.

The airline also advised that  cancellations will be announced on Brisbane-Tokyo (Narita), Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) and Sydney-Osaka (Kansai) routes.

Further changes are expected.

There is currently no change to other key parts of the Qantas International network, such as the US and UK, which remain unaffected.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.