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Filipino Air Passenger Preferences that May Change After CoviD-19 Crisis

After the CoviD-19 crisis, air travel will change a lot. It is like hitting that reset button where everything will have to be "restarted" back from step 1. Everything will indeed change, including the preferences of passengers like types of flights they would choose, airport services, and even seating.

Photo credits: Gary Sato
While the CoviD-19 crisis is considered as the worse crisis to hit the aviation industry after World War II which literally grounded more than 80% of passenger flights, air travel is still considered as an essential way to travel, however, things will really change.

The preference of Filipino passengers will change right after and these are the changes we do see coming after this Coronavirus crisis is said and done:
  1. Filipino passengers will prefer direct flights than those with stopovers, especially if the stopover is in a different country other than the port of origin and destination. Like in the case of Philippine Airlines versus its competitors on the Manila to United States routes, we see more people choosing a direct Manila to Los Angeles or Cebu to Los Angeles over a Manila to Seoul Incheon to Los Angeles and the likes.
  2. Some passengers will expect less dense cabin while also expecting low fares. This is close to impossible unless the airline has deep pockets to shell out more money. Its either a more dense seating configuration but low fares or less dense but higher fares. Its only any of the two. Some will demand that "social-distancing" should be observed on board the aircraft but they will surely not be willing to pay the price of the higher fare due to lower volume. Imposing social distancing on board will greatly reduce capacity and the only way for airlines to make money on a reduced capacity flight is to raise air fares and this will never sit well for low cost airlines.
  3. More passengers will opt for online check-in where they can just drop their luggage somewhere instead of lining up in check-in counters. The faster, the better.
  4. More travelers will prefer air travel over sea travel. Air travel is not only faster, but an aircraft cabin is not as cramped as those of the inter-island ships in the country. 
  5. Given their present economic situation, more passengers will expect low fares, reason why mandatory social distancing inside the aircraft should not be implemented. Instead, airport officials and airlines have to step up their pre-boarding health checks on passengers to ensure the safety of all. Emirates has implemented mandatory rapid CoviD-19 testing on all passengers prior to boarding.
  6. Regional passengers may prefer more comfort over a more cramped cabin configuration.

We do see however that things may somehow return back to "normal" when an immunization vaccine to CoviD-19 is out. For now, these are the changes we see for the next coming months after all travel restrictions are lifted and planes are back in the air.

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