How COVID-19 Changed Air Travel for Good

airplanes parked at the airport
Photo by Ahmed Muntasir on Pexels.com

Before COVID-19, airports worldwide were buzzing with activity, with one flight after another taking off to an exciting destination. Families went on vacations together, and friends planned annual summer trips, sometimes flying to the other side of the world.

Everything changed when COVID-19 happened. Suddenly, airports were shut down, and airline companies had to park their planes and keep them inside hangars. Everyone had to stay at home.

Even if things have eased up a bit after three years, things aren’t really back to normal. There is some level of normalcy, but COVID-19 protocols are still very much around. The rules may no longer be as strict as when air travel first reopened, but some changes need getting used to – for both the travellers and the airline industry. After all, the pandemic is still here – and it probably will be for a long time.

Airline companies have gradually started operating again, but things are not how they used to be as certain changes have had to be made in the global aviation industry. Commercial airlines are back in business, but for those who have the financial capability, the best option is to charter private plane services wherever they have to go.

Whether you take a commercial airline or charter a private plane, certain changes in air travel may be around for good – or at least for several years. Fortunately, with the current positive developments in the COVID-19 situation, some of these changes may be welcome news for you and other travellers. 

Changes in Air Travel Post-Pandemic

1. Pre-travel information for travellers coming into the U.S. and those travelling to other countries. 

If you are travelling to international destinations, it is your responsibility to get information about COVID-19 protocols and related recommendations, including those coming from the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The said government agencies may have firmer rules and warnings for some countries, especially those with high numbers of COVID-positive individuals.

Similarly, you also need information from authorities in other countries you are travelling to. Requirements and restrictions vary according to the current COVID-19 status of the destination you are headed for.

2. Face masks are no longer mandatory in many countries.

Woman putting on a face mask
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Masks are a sensitive issue for many travellers, with over 5,700 reports of passengers displaying disruptive, violent behaviour while on the plane, mostly because of disputes about wearing a mask. This will no longer be a problem, however, as U.S. authorities recently announced that face masks are no longer necessary for airline travel.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have also dropped the mandatory wearing of face masks in airlines and airports. Both authorities, however, still recognize that wearing face masks is still one of the most effective and easiest ways to protect oneself from the COVID-19 virus.

However, passengers who are sneezing and coughing are highly encouraged to wear face masks at all times during their travel. Vulnerable passengers must wear high-protection masks, such as KN95, N95, or FFP2.

The rules for face masks vary from one airline to another, specifically those travelling to destinations where mask-wearing is still a strict requirement.

3. COVID-19 vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC no longer requires travellers from foreign countries to submit a proof of negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery before going onboard their flight. This took effect on June 12, 2022, at 12:01 AM ET.

However, the CDC will continue with its periodical assessment of the need for testing, particularly when there are new COVID-19 variants. Since the virus continues to evolve, the CDC will implement full health and safety measures to protect the public when the situation calls for it.

While COVID-19 tests and recovery documents are no longer necessary, authorities still require non-citizen, non-immigrant travellers entering the U.S. to present proof of vaccination against the virus.

4. Change in booking behaviour

Although the number of bookings continues to increase, airline representatives still notice some hesitation on the part of travellers. Many now prefer to book their flights or buy tickets at later dates, sometimes even one day before their chosen departure date. Planning flights months ahead is considered by many as too risky with all the uncertainties of the pandemic.  

5. Budget airlines

Several low-cost airlines did quite well during the pandemic, and some new ones have even launched their services quite recently. While these flights are nothing like the business class types that sell for thousands of dollars, there are reasonable enough alternatives for travellers who need to travel on a budget, especially now that airline fares continue to shoot up.

Most budget airlines travel U.S. and European routes and allow the affordable purchase of one-way tickets. Amenities, such as in-flight meals, may not be available for all flights.

Aside from low-cost airlines in the U.S., travellers may also want to check out budget airlines in Tokyo and the Dominican Republic. Travellers looking for new destinations to visit may also find budget airlines interesting.

6. More travellers prefer private jets.

Private jets at an airport
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

When airports reopened after the long lockdown, the private jet industry thrived because they became the preferred means of air travel by many. Private jets weren’t a new thing for the rich and moneyed, but they were for those who were used to saving so they could travel. Many of these travellers didn’t have the money to charter a private plane, but they still preferred it overriding a commercial airline and risking their health and safety.

Even with most pandemic restrictions already lifted, there are now significantly more private jet travellers. As of January 2022, there is a 40% increase in take-offs and landings in 2021 compared to 2019.

It is safe to say that flights to nowhere will be around for a while, though not all airline companies will adopt the concept.

7. New technologies

Even if millions of people have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, and even if face mask use is no longer strictly implemented, authorities will continue to explore new technologies that ensure the safety of travellers and airlines.

Airline companies will continue to offer contactless check-ins and various virtual services. Travellers will continue to look for safer alternatives for services and amenities they’ve been availing of even before the pandemic. More and more people now prefer to book their flights online. Financially-stable families would rather travel on private charter jets than on commercial airlines.

Long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, new technologies that ensure everyone’s safety will continue to emerge.

Regardless of where you are flying from, where you are going, or what airline you are flying with, expect changes to welcome you. After all, the travel industry is always changing and evolving, especially at a challenging time like the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Author:

Melissa Hull is the Content Marketing Strategist for Aviation Charters, a West Trenton, New Jersey-based private aviation company that provides on-demand aircraft charter, aircraft management, and aircraft acquisition services. Aside from her passion for writing, she loves to travel and read espionage books.

Practical Tips for Memorable Family Travel with Kids

A family having fun at the beach

Creating happy memories is one of the most important parenting tasks. These souvenirs from the past help shape children’s identities and serve as valuable learning opportunities. While not many children would say they enjoy learning, most of them would say they like to play, explore, try new things, and have fun. This curious and open approach to life is a powerful teaching tool every parent should encourage in their children. And one of the most effective ways to do that is travel. Since traveling with kids can be challenging and, in a lot of cases, overwhelming, some extra preparation is necessary to ensure you don’t end up feeling even more exhausted after your vacation than before. These practical tips for memorable family travel with kids should give you the courage to take your tribe on any adventure.

Plan your trip together

At a certain age, kids begin to enjoy making their own decisions. Plan your trip together (when possible) and make them feel appreciated and heard. If they are old enough to have opinions about your travel plans, make sure to listen to them. Since kids’ wishes can sometimes be a bit unrealistic, explaining what’s possible and what’s not should help avoid disappointment.

You shouldn’t underestimate your little ones as they might have interesting suggestions regarding the destination or the itinerary. If they’re too young for that, give them a few options from which they can choose. They’ll take the task very seriously and feel proud if you go with their choice. Ask for their opinion about the accommodation, food, and other details. After all, your kids are going on that trip as much as you are, so it’s only fair to let them participate in planning.

Help your kids understand the destination

A crucial step in making memorable family travel with kids happen is teaching the youngsters about the places you will be visiting. Help your kids understand the destination’s history, culture, food, and language. Show them where the country is and tell them exciting stories appropriate for their age. As a family, try to learn a few common words and phrases that will help you communicate if the locals don’t speak English.

Two children reading
The more your kids know about the place you’re visiting, the more they will be able to enjoy it.

Knowing something about the destination will help your children feel more confident and excited to travel. It will help avoid any confusion and fear as well. Even if you plan to stay in the US and spend summer visiting amazing places in America, remember many places are vastly different from anything they are used to seeing. From Boston to Hawaii, both the scenery and culture change drastically, and it’s essential to prepare your kids for such changes.

Rely more on your intuition and less on your itinerary

Most children live in the moment and don’t care much for tight schedules. Rely more on your intuition and less on your itinerary. And avoid squeezing too many activities and sightseeing into your trip. Your children won’t enjoy traveling as much if they feel like they’re running errands. You’ll probably miss a few things due to rest, snacks, and bathroom brakes but by being attentive to your kids’ needs and feelings, you’ll avoid unnecessary stress and frustration. If you notice they are enjoying certain activities more than others, don’t force them to participate in everything. However, do encourage them to try new things if they are skeptical.

Remember that traveling is all about spending quality time with your loved ones and not so much about following an itinerary. Embrace your kid’s spontaneity as it might lead you to unexpected and extraordinary places.

Don’t let your memories fade away

A sure-fire way to ensure your kiddos remember your exciting expeditions as a family is to take lots of pictures. Some places are more photogenic than others, but your travel pictures will undoubtedly be among the most cherished souvenirs you’ll bring home. Don’t let your memories fade away. You shouldn’t feel pressured to take perfectly staged touristy photos, as most children find it boring to pose in front of famous sights and landmarks. Instead, try to capture spontaneous and heart-warming moments you want to remember. And a few of the not-so-happy moments as well, just to give your kids something to laugh about when they grow up. Don’t forget to let them take the camera and snap some pictures themselves. Seeing their point of view will surely be entertaining.

A girl taking pictures
Letting your kids take pictures will help them remember their perspective.

Seek authentic experiences with the locals

Memorable experiences almost exclusively happen outside of your comfort zone. Forget about the popular tourist spots and the convenience of your hotel or resort. When looking for unique encounters, it’s always best to follow the locals. Seek authentic experiences with locals on less busy streets, at local restaurants, talking to people, and encourage your kids to do the same. Sure, hanging out at the hotel’s pool is great but interacting with the locals is much more meaningful. Children might be a bit reserved at first, but if they see their parents are relaxed and confident, they will follow the same path.

A busy street in Morocco
Experiencing the local way of life is something your kids will never forget.

There are not many things as memorable as interacting with people whose mentality, culture, and language are different from your own. And if you’re worried your kid won’t be able to communicate – don’t be. Children are remarkably adaptable, so they’ll certainly find a way to get their point across.

Embrace the imperfection

When trying to make memorable family travel with kids happen, it’s best to embrace the imperfection. No matter how careful and thorough you are, someone will inevitably scrape their knee, lose their toy, or their temper. Remember that memorable doesn’t necessarily mean perfect and that mistakes and accidents are a part of the experience. Teach your kids not to let the mishaps ruin the entire trip. As long as everyone stays safe and healthy, a few troubles along the way will help your children learn how to deal with the real world. In the end, it’s all about the time your family spends together. And once you accept that, traveling with kids will become much less intimidating.

Of course, there are many more practical tips for memorable family travel with kids. But don’t overthink it. Go with the flow and enjoy your family time!

7 tips for solo female travelers

woman in the desert looking at a map

If you are a free-spirited individual and you want to travel on your own, you will surely hear cautionary tales about how precarious it is to do so, how you can get lost, bored, hungry, mugged, attacked, etc. Although there is an element of danger involved in traveling alone, especially during these turbulent pandemic times, we believe that the benefits significantly outweigh the risks. For this reason, we have seven tips for solo female travelers which will equip you with the necessary knowledge about what it actually looks like to travel alone as a woman. And, even more importantly, what you really have to take into consideration in terms of accommodation, transportation, money, safety, local culture and the like.

Safety first!

Your personal safety should be at the top of your priority list every time you hit the road. Some women associate safety exclusively with potential muggings, so they make sure they take self-defense lessons before they go on a big journey to unknown regions.

However, it is not only strangers that are potential sources of havoc. Depending on where you are traveling, you need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Avid travelers know that it is helpful to research the topographic characteristics of the terrain to decide on the type of clothing and shoes that you may need. You should also know what you absolutely have to have in your backpack – water, knife, lighter, first-aid kit, maps, insect repellent, medication, etc.

Listen to your gut

As any woman who likes to travel alone will tell you, eventually you will develop a keen ‘sixth sense’ for detecting potentially dangerous places and people. We all have it in us; you just need to get on the road to finetune your decision-making. Being too fearful can make the journey tedious and less than enjoyable, whereas having no inhibitions can naturally put you in tricky situations. Since we do not live in an ideal world, solo female traveling may come with challenges, but in most cases, these bumps in the road will make your journey thrilling and unforgettable.

Be informed

Basically, it is essential to know where you are traveling to – weather changes, availability of potable water, food, healthcare, and medication in the given country or region are all important factors to consider. Another factor you have to take into consideration is the cellular coverage in the region. Although your phone and internet may work in the hostel you are staying at, that might not be the case once you leave urban areas.

woman pointing to a place on a map
Carefully planning your journey is more important than seems at first glance.

No woman is an island

Yes, traveling to a completely novel environment alone is a deeply gratifying experience, but it is a mistake to think that you have to be alone all the time. Be on the lookout for travel tours that offer assistance in the form of local guides. These types of offers provide you with the chance to seek help when you need it, but without forcing you into traveling in somebody else’s shoes, so to speak. For example, suppose you want to go on a photo safari. In that case, you have workshops led by wildlife photography experts who can brief you about the best timing and position from which you can take pictures of the savanna nature and wildlife. 

If you are looking to spend a longer period of time somewhere, it might be useful to join a traveling group. In this way, you can plan group journeys when you feel like it; you can meet like-minded travelers upon which you will be able to rely during your stay and still retain the sense of choosing your own itinerary for the day.

people jumping in the sunset
Solo female travelers are usually surprised to find that they have met so many amazing people on their journey. 

Meeting new people is part and parcel of traveling solo

From expats to locals, from flight attendants to hitch-hikers, be sure to delve deep into the melting pot of different faces and experiences that come your way. The journey to yourself is, for most people, actually the journey towards new friendships.

Talking to people has a practical side for solo women travelers as well. Especially if you do not speak the local language, you might miss out on important information of all sorts. People you meet will surely share their experiences with you, and you will most easily travel the country by knowing where to go and where you can go.

Meeting yourself is also part and parcel of traveling solo

If you are a sociable person, you might easily succumb to the urge to be surrounded by other people. It is understandable, and it may be tempting to form a group to travel together in unfamiliar surroundings. Although this is not necessarily wrong, at times, this approach to traveling might obscure the bigger picture – that you are traveling solo for a reason.

There are many things to learn about yourself that, perhaps, you cannot find out in your hometown. Learning to enjoy nature, silence, and your thought processes will be a life-long lesson that traveling solo will bestow upon you.

a woman standing between a gate made of rock
You might be more capable and adventurous than what you give yourself credit for

For instance, it may happen that you do not have any money left. You may find out that you can sell your photographs or artwork or earn money by doing land work. These kinds of revelations will reveal to you something you may not have known about yourself – that you are resilient, resourceful, and streetwise.

Book a bed in a hostel or private accommodation 

Immersing yourself in local culture by staying in a shabby hostel or renting a room from a local will widen your horizons and give you a more accurate picture of the local environment. There is a chance that you will meet someone who speaks the same language as you do – both literally and figuratively.

Furthermore, you will always have someone to ask for help or advice, even if you are not that into the idea of making friends. It is usually challenging to get through to hotel staff in such a way. Also, hostels are generally well prepared for solo female travelers, and they probably already have the answer to any of your questions.