Airline travel has been one of the most affected industries during the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s also been one of the fastest to adapt.
January 18th, 2021
Airline travel has been one of the most affected industries during the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s also been one of the fastest to adapt. In order to regain customers and make their customers feel safe, airports worldwide have made great strides in implementing new travel safety measures.
From in-airport PCR tests to COVID-sniffing dogs, you can expect a much different experience the next time you travel by air. Contactless technologies have also surged in popularity during the pandemic and are ubiquitous in airports. Here are 8 ways to take advantage of them so you can make your airport travel contactless.
1. Use contactless payment
Most vendors have quickly adapted to accepting contactless payment methods during the pandemic, with some even forgoing cash entirely. Most new debit or credit cards enable you to tap on a POS in order to complete the transaction. You can also upload your cards and/or bank account information to a mobile wallet to make payments.
2. Check in for your flight online
Although many of us already do so, checking in online is another way to make your airport experience contactless. Most airlines permit you to check in online up to 24 hours before your flight’s departure. You can either print your boarding pass at home or pull it up on your smartphone, and scan it yourself before embarking on your flight.
3. Check your bags (and pay for them) online
Not only does this save you time, but you avoid having to interact with a customer service agent or touch a public airport kiosk. When you get to the airport, simply drop your checked bag(s) off at the correct airline and head to security.
4. Confirm your identity faster.
At 115 airports and counting, the TSA has implemented Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units that reduce the time it takes for a TSA officer to confirm travelers’ identities. Travelers can place their IDs in the scanners themselves, and within seconds the CAT unit analyzes and confirms their information.
5. Decrease the need for TSA officers to open and touch bags.
Make sure you carefully follow the TSA guidelines for carry-on bags, in order to go through security faster and so officers don’t need to open your bags and touch the contents. In some instances, a TSA officer may have you remove items from your bag in order to reduce contact. The guidelines haven’t changed much since you last traveled—you still have to take your laptop out of your bag. However, the TSA now permits travelers to bring up to 12 oz of liquid hand sanitizer through security. The TSA is also working hard on their end to decrease the need for their officers to touch travelers’ belongings. By employing new computed tomography checkpoint scanners at 267 airports, officers can now have a 3D view of carry-on bags, which reduces the need for bag inspections.
6. Use contactless food ordering and delivery services.
Love the convenience of ordering food online when you’re at home? Now, you can order food on-the-go while you are traveling right on your phone with the Grab app. This service partners exclusively with airport vendors to provide a contactless ordering and payment system.
Just order in the app and “grab” your food at the pick-up counter. This app has actually been around for a few years, but it’s popularity skyrocketed when the pandemic started. As a bonus,
Grab lets you search for different cuisines and restaurants at the airport you’re in — this is especially useful because many airport vendors have changed throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and an airport might have different offerings now.
Prefer delivery? AtYourGate is the app for you! It’s a similar concept to Grab, although it provides in-airport delivery services directly to your gate. AtYourGate teams at certain airports in the US will soon be joined by Gita robots, small robots that can carry up to 40 pounds, to make food delivery contactless.
7. Use virtual information booths
In order to protect both their employees and customers, some airports have pivoted toward offering the information desk services virtually. LAX debuted their Virtual Assistance pilot program in July, and other airports have followed suit. Some airlines have also taken the initiative to turn their customer service virtual. United Airlines introduced their Agent on Demand program that allows you to video chat with an agent. Simply scan a QR code (this program is currently limited, but is set to expand to the rest of United’s hubs by the end of the year) and you’ll be connected with an agent.
8. Reserve an airport parking spot online
With the many airport parking apps available online, you can reserve near-airport parking ahead of time at several airports globally. If you’re travelling in theUS, you are in luck. You can use the parking spot app, for instance, to find convenient parking and shuttles in 38 locations at 22 airports nationwide.
What’ s more, you can save your payment information on the app for quick touchless entry into any parking lot you’ve paid for. On the way out, you can go through the self-service line for a touchless checkout. The shuttles will take you right from your car or the designated garage pick-up point to the airport at no extra charge.
Bonus travel tip . Make sure there aren’t any travel restrictions for your pet
With over 68% of American households owning at least one pet, there’s no doubt that you could possibly be bringing a pet along with you during your travels. However, it’s crucial that you understand what’s required for you to travel with your pet and have a contactless experience. There have been instances where pets have been stranded up to 1 year in another country due to COVID-19.
Wrap Up On How To Make Your Airport Travel Contactless.
Armed with your phone and a lot of great, new technology your upcoming air travel is sure to be as contactless as possible.
In addition to the above mentioned travel tips, airports continue to consider safety first, and have installed hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass barriers, social distancing floor guides (and more) to increase the safety of their staff and guests.
By taking advantage of all these amenities, you can take advantage of travel opportunities, see the world, and continue to stay safe.
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.