May 6, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and it’s temporary freeze on travel is proving to be an enormous worry for the world’s Phobic Travellers.
Never in the history of travel in the 20th and 21st centuries have we seen such a major decline in travel – thousands of aircraft parked without a destination to fly to. Not even during The Gulf War or 9/11 was there such a dip. It is fair to say that right now we have a frozen industry.
For many who have booked their summer vacations, and hope for a refund, there will be further disappointment, as cash strapped airlines and travel companies cling on to their cash reserves which are paramount to their very survival. Many will only refund by giving their customers vouchers for future travel.
The Phobic Travellers among us will experience very dark days, weeks and even possibly months ahead. The are many recurring questions: What if I don’t get my refund, or a voucher?; What if my voucher expires before I can travel again?; When will it be safe to travel?
The truth is none of us know when travel will take off again. It may not be until the end of this year. For the Phobic Traveller, everything right now is a weight of worry. Will people regain their confidence to travel again?
When movement is unlocked, the desire to see the world will hopefully overcome anxieties. But for the moment we can only escape from lockdown by dreaming of sandy beaches and sunny days ahead.
Feeling deflated? Watch Travelling in the 70’s for some good, old fashioned fun!
In one rather dystopian fell swoop, air fares will increase, security and health checks will morph into a 4 hour process and will become the new norm. Masks will be mandatory when flying and meals may no longer be offered.
On the upside, the rejection and subsequent reduction in this kind of travel could be great news for the environment. How many aircraft have you seen in a clean and clear sky recently? Greta Thunberg has recently called for a “new way forward” upon the end of the pandemic — is this what she has in mind?
For airlines, it will be the survival of the strongest. Of the carriers who make it out the other side, how many will introspectively assess the vulnerabilities of their businesses? Global economic disasters always expose fragility, especially in cash-flow and supply chains.
However, for survivors, there will be ample opportunities for airlines to entice twitchy customers with imaginative deals to encourage them to book and fly away to to far away lands. To say the world deserves a holiday is a huge understatement!
But for the Phobic Traveller the questions will multiply. Reassurance will be the key to close the door on nervous and worrying thoughts.
Stay tuned for more encouraging updates on the re-emergence of travel as we once knew.
Study Guide: Epidemics Throughout The Ages
Neda Dorudi for The Forensic Traveller
Main image: Dublin Airport, Sean MacEntee, Flickr Creative Commons