On behalf of the IABSC, greetings to all. I hope that you all remain safe and healthy. Our industry continues to navigate the challenges imposed on us by the health crisis. In discussions with colleagues from around the world, we face a challenge globally.
During our August IABSC meeting, I wanted to get a sense of where we stand as to recovery. We launched a poll asking those in attendance to indicate the location from where they were working. Results?
Airport Site 6%
Employer Facility 24%
At home 70%
While this is just a snapshot, it certainly reflects the continued mood, that of staying safe at home. During our chat sessions, I had the opportunity to discuss with some individual members their thoughts. One airport representative indicated that they expect a drop in passenger volumes as the summer vacation season concludes. Another member indicated that as an association involved with the experience of the traveling public, we should be leading the way in promoting confidence in travel, by being out traveling. I certainly agree.
So, what is the current travel experience? I interviewed a colleague who has been traveling consistently throughout the past five-plus months, to get a traveler’s perspective. This colleague has been working at an airport site during this time – but not part of the 6% of our poll.
Regarding the cleanness of the airport terminals, he remarked that an improvement in cleanness is noticeable. Terminal operators have raised their game regarding the upkeep of the public areas. Asked about the aircraft, he also indicated that improved hygiene is noticeable and that you can sense the difference. So, to our industry – keep up the good work. Now, we need to help the traveling public get this same sense of a clean journey within the airport ecosystem.
But the journey does not end at the airport. Hotels and destinations must also be engaged. My colleague indicated that he has experienced a positive difference in the hotel room. However, the challenge may be maintaining this cleanness throughout the common areas of the hotel. Seems like there is an opportunity for improvements there.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the journey has to do with the intangible portions of the trip. Where and what dining choices are available? How about cleanliness at restaurants, if one is available? My colleague has modified his dining habits to consume what he feels will be clean, but not necessarily what he prefers.
He indicated that he takes personal responsibility for his portion of a clean journey, ensures that he has done the best that he can as an individual, relies on his own common sense and good judgment. And – he does not allow undue anxiety of potential circumstances to overwhelm him. Business as usual.
So, there is the perception of one traveler.
What can we do as individuals, as an association, as partners in the travel ecosystem? How do each of us help to change the current public perception that air travel is unhealthy?
I welcome your thoughts and comments on this topic…