One of the industries hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic is travel. Corporate travelers, the bread and butter of most travel companies, have been grounded for the most part for the over six months. Many businesses and government agencies instituted “do not travel” orders at the beginning of the pandemic. While some companies have lifted blanket bans against travel, a recent survey found that business travel is likely to remain low until 2023. But what will corporate travel look like when you or your employees hit the roads, or the airports, again? We delved into some of the ways travel has changed.
Mandatory Masks – Currently, every major U.S. airline requires masks during travel. If you don’t want to wear a mask, prepared to be banned. For example, Delta Airlines has banned well over 100 people for refusing to wear a mask. If you feel you have a medical reason for not wearing a mask, be forewarned that American and Southwest Airlines are not allowing any exceptions. If you are one of the many business travelers who take Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor, know that they also require masks onboard.
Full Flights – This may seem counterintuitive. The number of air travelers is still way down compared to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, airlines are canceling poorly booked flights. Travel website The Points Guy warns, “While passengers may see almost entirely unreserved seat maps at booking — expecting to find those conditions onboard — airlines are canceling and consolidating flights. In some cases, that results in an aircraft that is fuller than expected, making social distancing difficult.” Early in the pandemic airlines were blocking off middle seats, but many have changed that policy, so you may find yourself sitting between two strangers on a crowded flight.
Contactless Hotel Stays – The days of stopping by the front desk to check in and get your keys are in the past at many hotel chains. You can now use your cell phone to check in and open your room. Also, some chains have eliminated the free breakfast bars in favor of pre-packaged breakfast items.
Varying Coronavirus Restrictions – Before you or your employees decide to return to business travel, familiarize yourself with the restrictions of the place you want to travel to. Visiting a place that will require you to quarantine for two weeks won’t make sense for most corporate travelers, so know before you go. AARP makes it easy to travel restrictions by state with this recently updated list.
We know how hard this year has been for businesses. One of our goals at VersaTel Solutions is to make it easier for you to handle the big decisions. Let us take the time-consuming minutiae off your plate. Whether it’s bookkeeping, virtual assistants, or streamlining your business processes, we have a service that can make your life easier. Reach out to us to see how we can help.