Social Distancing on Aircraft

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  • Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    I think social distancing is impossible on an aircraft,

    Permanent social distancing is impossible in almost every sphere of modern life. As a result it won’t happen. What replaces it will be one of two things:

    We will become immune to the disease – through a vaccine, or through having had it ourselves, or through herd immunity
    We will become inured to the disease – we will accept the (small) annual death toll as a price to pay for living normal lives.

    Lest the latter sounds callous beyond words, it is precisely the attitude we adopt to deaths from road accidents. We could reduce those to near zero if we banned all private cars full stop. But we choose not to.

    As it is at the moment we are behaving as if:
    We ourselves do not have the disease, or therefore any protection from it
    Everyone else does have the disease, and must therefore be avoided wherever possible.

    This is not sustainable!

    7 users thanked author for this post.

    canucklad
    Participant

    A cleaner aircraft may help.

    Agree, and add to the list the environment found all around us!

    I shuddered this morning when I heard the news that social distancing will last into 2021 in some form or another !
    Adding to what I said earlier, our economy is primarily based on the service industry.

    With that in mind and if i was a journalist , the probing question I’d ( as far I know-not yet asked ) ask Nicola & whomever is standing in for Boris is this….
    “what level of long term unemployment do you believe to be viable to the UK economy during 2021 , 25% – 35% or even higher ? ”

    As we passively sit and wait this out , by the end of it, social distancing on aircraft won’t be an issue simply because we wont be able to afford to fly !

    Do I have confidence that our politicians have identified the tipping point of no return?
    Basically when staying apart (forget social distancing) damages us more than the virus —- At the moment , the answer is Yes, but doubts are beginning to creep in !!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    Do I have confidence that our politicians have identified the tipping point of no return?

    The issue is more than just identifying the tipping point. Politicians cannot do this – they cannot spot the exact moment when the scales tip from one side to the other, any more than one can buy at the precise bottom of the market or take precisely enough money to the penny with you when you go out for an evening (remember that?). The problem then becomes which error they prefer to make – end lockdown sooner than is optimal, or hold us down for longer than is optimal.

    The challenge they face is that the pay-offs from ending too soon and ending too slowly (both for the country and for their own careers) are very different. End too soon and infection and death rates spike up: highly visible, highly regrettable, career-threatening. End too late and the economy sinks further into the mire: not easy to measure, not easy to know what the alternative might have been, easy to survive.

    I don’t think any government wants to hold their country in lockdown for a moment longer than is necessary. But it is easy to see why they might feel, for national reasons and also personal, that erring on the side of caution is needed.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    rferguson
    Participant

    Some airlines have introduced social distancing policies. But they can also be confusing. Take United. Here is there policy:

    https://hub.united.com/united-connecting-world-safely-2645746370.html

    I think most would agree on looking at the policy UA are ensuring that they are keeping certain seats free in order to accommodate social distancing. They even include seat maps displaying this.

    In reality, this is not the case. If United can fully sell out a flight, there will be no empty seats. Only in cases where the loads allow it, will they block out seats.

    I don’t see this as a major problem per se. If you have one person sat either side of you your contacts are only two providing you don’t leave your seat (easy during a short flight). But airlines are being creative in their promotion of social distancing and IMHO giving the impression that everyone will have an empty seat next to them.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    canucklad
    Participant

    I’ll share what I did yesterday, and this’ll hopefully demonstrate some of the flaws , mixed message sand challenges the airlines and aviation sector face in the coming months.

    I’ll also share my thought process whilst I completed what used to be a simple if mundane task
    I don’t own a car , so grocery shopping is a bit of a pain . In-between Skype Calls (2 hours) I decided to leave my peaceful village and head to Asda & Boots

    Before I left I made sure I had a tissue (no mask or gloves) — Soon forgot I took a tissue
    Bus appears I’ve loose change & my card dependant on bus drivers (no protection between me & him) ) preference _Dropped loose change into box, driver insisted I took a ticket
    4 other people on the bus , all sitting apart – at the penultimate stop , the bell is rung and as the 4 walk to the front of the moving bus, they all grasp handles & seats as it shoogles to a stop
    Next stop I wait until the bus stops and then consciously avoid contact with any of the previously mentioned surfaces
    By the way this bus originated at Edinburgh’s main hospital!!

    One of Scotland biggest shopping centre’s shut, apart from a mad diversion to get to Boots, this time the doors forced open – To no avail Boots pharmacy is shut for lunch and people mingling outside waiting for it open ? I can’t wait so decide to head to Asda .
    Early Wednesday afternoon , grab my trolley and join the enforced queue to get in, a queue the Disneyland people would be proud of .
    Frustration sets in as a Radgie jumps the queue and a bit of stramash ensues with others at the entrance

    As you enter Asda kindly has bottles of spray to sanitize your trolley handle, I ponder how to dispense the liquid without touching the trigger.
    A touch of paranoia sets in and kill any germs on the handle and leave the sanitizing station feverishly rubbing my hands –Damn, I think I wiped my face in despair whilst observing the ruckus. Anxiety sets in as I realize the futility of my earlier attempt at germ genocide !

    Although the directional arrows seem to be well observed the aisles width doesn’t allow for those pesky amongst us who ponder every purchase. Overtaking puts paid to social distancing unless you welcome the advent of the 5 hour shop !
    And anyway, all rules are forgotten when you need to fight your corner so you can pick up a Whoopsie (Reduced Section)- But only after you pick up & inspect your bargain/s at close quarter. Then change your mind put , re-enter the scrum to put your item/s back on the shelf

    At the checkout I’m surprised how much more my grocery bill is than normal (40%+). But then again why should I be surprised ?
    I’ve been forced into buying higher priced commodities due to the absence of my normal choice of selection, or try again another day.

    I’m expected to pay by card, which is fine, but I’ve now got to use the same keypad as at least the 4 people who where in front of me !
    Cheerfully thank the checkout operator behind his Perspex barrier and head for my taxi. He helps me load my bags (at close quarters) , probably knowing I’ll give him a handsome tip when I get back home. He’s right and only accepts cash !

    Finally home in my Corona free Cocoon . The focus of my paranoia is now all those items of shopping that are now potentially a threat to my wellbeing. What was it the experts said about the virus, 3 hours, 3 days , it depends on the temperature , the surface type —–Oh just go and wash your hands and keep your fingers crossed that my incursion into the dystopian world outside my window hasn’t made me the next statistic.

    In summary, Damn, I’ve still got Boots to go to !! Never mind my trip to HK in October !

    7 users thanked author for this post.

    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    Various scenario’s I can see (ultimately to me the concept of social distancing on a plane is futile). If you really want this – pay for a Business Class seat where airlines offer it or book 3 seats in Economy on someone like Easyjet and pay for seat allocation so you get the whole row!

    I can see a scenario where for countries with travel suspended that travel will be permitted for “non” nationals for essential Business travel (basically you have to have a letter from your employer stating reasons for travel and duration to board a plane). Might be cumbersome in short term but may be a conduit to enabling critical travel to start again, whilst ensuring that big stag/hen party travel / unnecessary leisure travel in short term is reduced. It has it flaws / weaknesses / holes in this idea – but one which might enable travel to start in a “soft” way for countries who are wary of receiving a glut of people from around the world.

    Ultimately it is critical for the world economy that air travel opens up ASAP, though from a personal perspective I hope it is done in an efficient way as possible so we can still enjoy the environmental benefits we are seeing at the moment from reduced air/road travel, and work out how to implement this as part of a global strategic approach to reducing climate emissions. Getting people from A to B needs to be done better across the world in a way that reduces unnecessary flights taking people from A to B via C all the time when A to B direct is better (and needlessly filling up planes on the A to C and B to C legs). An example of where the free market fails when it doesn’t take into account the externalities.

    Anyway – hope everyone is well!


    esselle
    Participant

    I don’t understand how this can possibly work.

    You can’t be 6 feet away from the person in the row in front of you, nor the person in the row behind you.

    And how do you control social distancing in the gate area when people are waiting to board, or in the aisle(s) when people are waiting to deplane?


    Ah,Mr.Bond
    Participant

    Population control 20+years ago would have been one such solution to this, but no one wants to discuss this matter, not even now when all this is finished. Now we have 8 billion people all living like the stone age where social distancing for eternity is just simply not practical for anything longterm, let alone just flying.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    Hi Tim Fizgerald,
    You wrote
    “book 3 seats in Economy on someone like Easyjet and pay for seat allocation so you get the whole row!”
    but surely you can only get a boarding card if you have PAX name and ID. Otherwise, just buying seats, and allocations, would look like a no show, and seats may be released.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    You can buy an extra seat for ‘personal comfort’, it’s added to the PNR as pax name + EXST. With the legacy airlines you usually pay the base fare + ‘surcharges’ for it but no taxes. I’m not sure if you can do the same on LCCs.


    canucklad
    Participant

    but surely you can only get a boarding card if you have PAX name and ID. Otherwise, just buying seats, and allocations, would look like a no show, and seats may be released.

    That’s probably right, the amount of times one of my pals has pulled out of a boys trip and we’ve gone ahead and checked them in online (Ryanair & Easyjet) just to find the seat has been filled with a complete stranger happens more than it doesn’t

    I’m assuming the LCC’s therefore also have a deliberate over booking policy to account for no shows ?

    And an update on my shopping post from Wednesday. Just back from Boots ( probably one of their larger branches) and although there was relatively few people waiting ,the space that the queue took up stretched out into the mall and the time taken to process the queue ( 10 or so people) IMO is unrealistic and unsustainable if the other stores & businesses were even partly allowed to open.
    And from experience, you simply couldn’t implement that , or similar system at an AF counter dealing with missed connections at CDG !!


    SimonS1
    Participant

    I don’t understand how this can possibly work.

    You can’t be 6 feet away from the person in the row in front of you, nor the person in the row behind you.

    And how do you control social distancing in the gate area when people are waiting to board, or in the aisle(s) when people are waiting to deplane?

    Exactly. Reality I’m afraid is that distancing will be impractical in air travel, so people will need to decide whether to travel or not.


    esselle
    Participant

    I don’t understand how this can possibly work.

    You can’t be 6 feet away from the person in the row in front of you, nor the person in the row behind you.

    And how do you control social distancing in the gate area when people are waiting to board, or in the aisle(s) when people are waiting to deplane?

    Exactly. Reality I’m afraid is that distancing will be impractical in air travel, so people will need to decide whether to travel or not.

    During my career I flew at least twice a week, every week, for 25 years; every carrier, all points around the world, and mainly positive experiences. I flew many Concorde sectors before the “enhancements” started to strip bits of the experience away.

    And then I retired. My last flights were MAN-MEL, on a combination of AF, SQ and QF, all in first. We spent three weeks in Melbourne with our eldest daughter, coming home last December. The last long haul sector was SIN-CDG on AF Premiere. My wife and I were the only two in the four seat cabin. It was the most exceptional experience. Better than anything which I’ve enjoyed on any other carrier.

    Who knows if it will be the last flight I ever take. But if it was, it was a great memory to finish up on.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    n166
    Participant

    Even things like sitting in a lounge or gate. sitting in a seat where someone has just been may mean having to wipe it down etc.

    I agree that people will need to decide whether they need to travel or not – but what if you need to travel for work? this possibly takes the decision out of your hands


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Even things like sitting in a lounge or gate. sitting in a seat where someone has just been may mean having to wipe it down etc.

    I agree that people will need to decide whether they need to travel or not – but what if you need to travel for work? this possibly takes the decision out of your hands

    I would say the decision is always in your hands. If you no longer feel comfortable to travel for work (quite understandable, btw) then a change of job or change of work style may be needed.

    You won’t be alone, as this will prove a life changing event for many people.

    It will be interesting to see how travel insurers handle this.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 114 total)
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