Once the lockdown ends, aeroplane ticket prices are likely to shoot up threefold owing to social distancing within the aircraft. Here’s what we know about it so far. By Bayar Jain
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As travel-loving folks, we’re always on the lookout for great deals on airfares. Despite the lockdown, we’ve been keeping a close watch at aeroplane tickets so we can continue our adventures once the isolation subsides. Despite our heads high up in the clouds right now, our pockets are likely to feel a pinch as airfare is expected to rise threefold for the first few days following the lift of travel bans.
A major cause of this inflammatory price would be due to social distancing norms within the carriers. In an attempt to curb a relapse of the virus post the lockdown, aircrafts are expected to operate with only one-third occupancy, restricting only one passenger in a row of three seats. To ensure distancing, aviation authorities are also contemplating the idea of passengers in subsequent rows to be seated diametrically opposite to one another, that is, if a passenger is seated in the aisle seat of row one, then the passenger of row two would be seated near the window. This seating pattern would result in a fall of two-thirds of the typically 180-seating capacity of carriers; roughly 60 passengers per plane. Reports suggest that officials are likely to increase the airfare anywhere between 1.5 to three times to compensate for this capacity fall.
A senior official has reportedly said having a singular vacant seat between two passengers may not be adequate social distancing. Additionally, reports also suggest that this distancing can only be eased once medicines or vaccines to contain the virus will be developed.
This practice of social distancing, however, will not be restricted only to the aeroplanes themselves. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is reportedly preparing a flight resumption plan which seeks a 1.5 metre-distancing between passengers throughout the airport – including entry gates, check-in counters, security checks, immigration counters, and boarding gates. Marking points are expected to be rolled out to facilitate the same.