Tuesday, October 05, 2021

For Indians, vaccination proof key to safe air travel: Survey

Mumbai: Though Indians are the most cautious air passengers in the world when it comes to boarding a flight during the pandemic, as many as 63 % said they would take their next flight in the next six months, according to findings of a 'Passenger Confidence' survey carried out by Inmarsat, global satellite communications provider.

While 91% of Asia Pacific (APAC) airline passengers acknowledged that the pandemic has changed their long-term travel habits, over half (51%) would be confident to fly by the end of the year and 20% would happily catch a flight in the next month, the survey found. Indians (78%) were significantly more cautious than passengers/respondents from the UK (25%) and Australia (33%), it said.

"In terms of what could airlines and the travel industry do to make them feel more confident about flying, 68% of Indian passengers believed mandatory proof of vaccination for all passengers would be key, whereas 65% also expressed a preference for all airlines to follow the same hygiene practices,'' the survey added.

Digital health passports (59%), personal protection packs (57%) and facial recognition security (53%), among other factors, are the new prominent aspects of the travel experience that should be kept in place in a post-pandemic travel setting. When it comes to Covid-19 concerns, APAC passengers view some everyday experiences as riskier than air travel.

"A significant 32% of APAC passengers are less confident getting on the bus or coach than taking a flight, while 32% of passengers felt the metro or underground was risker than flying,'' it said. "Public toilets (68%), public transport (66%) and cinemas (60%) are considered to be higher-risk places for catching the virus in comparison to taking a flight,'' the survey said.

"Despite the optimistic outlook, concerns regarding flying continue and primarily centre on the inconvenience and unpredictability of air travel. The research reveals the unpredictability of flying and the seemingly huge variation in rules and regulations is hampering confidence towards post-pandemic air travel in India the most,'' the survey said adding that quarantining and catching the virus abroad (both 54%) remain the main worries, among other reasons, that prevent Indians from traveling abroad. When it comes to health and safety, the research suggests that greater importance should be placed on customer experience.

04/10/21 Manju V/Times of India

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