Social distancing, in-flight cleanliness top concerns in pandemic-era air travel

Tech-approved cabin cleanliness, in-flight social distancing and personal protection equipment (PPE) emerge as top concerns and priorities among air passengers in the wake of the pandemic, according to a recent survey.

Conducted by Honeywell Aerospace, the survey taken by more than 700 passengers across North America and Asia, showed that a majority of travellers (72 per cent) were more concerned with the environment on an airplane than in an airport (28 per cent).

Frequent flyers demand more personal protective equipment, technology to improve cabin cleanliness: Honeywell; an airline worker conducting deep cleaning of aircraft’s interior cabin as part of preventive measures pictured

Respondents are frequent flyers for either business or pleasure, with the majority (75 per cent) aged 25-44.

Nearly 60 per cent of respondents cited social distancing as their top priority during travel, while about half of respondents cited air quality (51 per cent) and PPE such as masks (47 per cent) as top priorities. Passengers’ most-desired safety items during travel were masks, hand sanitiser and alcohol wipes.

Cleanliness validation via technology was by far (60 per cent) the most important way to bolster passenger confidence in cleanliness around their seating area, according to the survey. Other considerations included providing cleaning supplies directly to the passenger (23 per cent), followed by being informed and updated by the cabin crew (12 per cent).

“This survey demonstrates that passengers want high-tech solutions to best validate the entire travel experience as it relates to health and safety,” said Kevin Suits, vice president, user experience, Honeywell Aerospace.

From an airport perspective, survey respondents were most concerned with the cleanliness of common areas, followed by the ability to social distance and fellow travellers’ use of protective equipment.

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