change when flying post covid-19

6 Things That Will Change When You Fly Post Covid-19

Hey My Dear Aviator,

Have you considered how flights will be after Covid? Your beloved Aviation industry is one that has definitely been affected by the pandemic and has changed it irrevocably. For this reason, there are many shifts and changes in the experience for passengers, in the operation, for crews and in aviation in general. When researching the way Covid has affected aviation in the aftermath of the pandemic, I found 6 major things that will change when you fly post Covid-19. Some shifts we will embrace and enjoy, but others make us wish the pandemic never happened.

change when flying post covid-19

1. More Stringent Hygiene Regulations on Board and at the Airport 👮🏼‍♀️

When you think about it, there are a number of areas in the airport that require physical contact from baggage check-in to security points. These areas will likely be completely redesigned to eliminate contact as much as possible and maintain social distance as well. In major airports, you may have observed self-drop offs for baggage, self-check-ins and self-scanning ID stations. This will be the future airport experience. One step further I could also imagine that there will be less security personnel due to more automation. We become more and more transparent through digitization. So, maybe one day those who hold a trustworthy record could possibly pass through security without getting checked. 

However, after the pandemic, I think the lines/queues will be longer, to enforce social distancing, and checkpoints could take significantly longer, as travellers will need to separate more of their carry-ons, so that bag searches are less necessary.

In my opinion, we will be required to wear PPE for some time due to the nature of airports and aeroplanes. Space for travellers is limited and the ICAO might implement this as an extra safety measure once countries get rid of the mask requirements. 

I am sincerely hoping that on board cleaning policies change tremendously. Who hasn’t taken a seat and found a dirty cushion, dirty tray tables and smeared window blinds? Airlines will take more care to present a clean impression of the cabin to their passengers and they will promote their disinfection process as a selling point.

I don’t believe that disembarking the plane by rows will have a future. However, I would favour a more speedy process, also for embarkation, through more boarding bridges. This would help to reduce contact with other passengers,

change when flying post covid-19

Outdated Business Class of Lufthansa

2. Updated Cabin Configuration 💺

We have been seeing a change in cabin configuration already over the past few years. First Class cabins have been decreasing, Business Class cabins have been improved and Premium Economy cabins have gotten bigger.  

Passengers demand more comfort, more seat separation and more space from fellow passengers. However the extra pricing for a Business Class is too much for most travellers. That’s why the Premium Economy is a great alternative in between both classes. You get more comfort and a better flight experience for a reasonable price. So, for extra safety and comfort, more and more passengers will book Premium Economy.

Airlines will also need to configure the layout of their cabins to address the increased share of leisure traffic. At the simplest level, lower numbers of business travellers may lead to smaller Business Class cabins. So the layout will shift to a bigger Premium Economy Cabin and/or development of Business Class seats more suitable for travelling as couples or groups.

change when flying post covid-19

In the future Business Class will be First Class with more comfort

change when flying post covid-19

Pay for everything model will be implemented for all booking classes

3. Everything, Everything and Everything will Cost Extra 💸

Thanks to low-cost airlines, the policy of “everything has to be paid as an extra” has been implemented in the aviation industry. Premium airlines have refused as long as possible to adapt to this model. But since they appear to have lost clients and could not keep up any longer with the pricing of other operators, passengers have had to start paying for extras. 

Even premium airlines like Lufthansa, do not offer any free drinks or snacks on their short-haul flight anymore. Taking this further, passengers will have to pay extra for EVERYTHING, whether it be luggage, carry-on baggage, priority boarding, catering onboard or seat reservations. This is already the case on most short and medium-haul flights. It will also be the future for long-haul flights to keep the ticket price low and make more revenue from any passengers. 

I do favour this trend because I think this way you can personally shape your flight experience. It will be more individual and fit your needs. Even in business class, I could imagine that you have to pre-order your meal and pay for it extra. Why not? So, less catering will be thrown away after the flight. 

BLOG: Why You Should NOT fly with TAP Business Class?

change when flying post covid-19
change when flying post covid-19

4. More Expensive Flight Tickets 🎫 

The aviation industry received state-provided aid, credit lines, and bond issuances, which collectively amassed more than $180 billion worth of debt in 2020. This figure is equivalent to more than half of total annual revenues that year. These costs will need to be recouped. Therefore, we’ll likely see ticket prices rise. To keep ticket prices low or at the same level, airlines may potentially calculate extras within their ticket price. E.g. to take hand-luggage on board. In my opinion, ticket prices need to be high so that they can pay fair loans, reduce the environmental footprint and safety standards can be at the highest level. 

change when flying post covid-19

5. More Hassle due to Certificates and Tests 📲

When travelling out of the country, a passport may not simply be sufficient anymore. We can experience this already. Despite an ID, you may need a vaccination certificate, a test and most of the time you need to register in the country where you are flying to. Additionally, you have to take care when flying via a third country, which may have totally different regulations. This can get quite confusing for travellers to know which documents they need for their journey. 

Digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travellers’ vaccine certificates, COVID-19 test results and entry forms. Carriers will invest in the customer experience and IT automation – such as making check-in and boarding processes more seamless. Travellers will need to upload all documents before the flight and the system will check it and grant them access to check-in online. At the moment everything needs to be checked at the airport which causes long queues. 

change when flying post covid-19

6. More Leisure Destinations on the Flight Plans 🏝

Leisure trips will fuel the recovery of the industry, whereas business aviation travel will take longer to recover, and even then, it is estimated that it will only recover to approximately 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels by 2024. Remote work and other flexible working arrangements are likely to remain in some form post-pandemic and people will take fewer corporate trips.

This will cause more leisure destinations to be on the flight plans of airlines. We are likely to fly to vacation hotspots more directly. I am hoping that post-pandemic consequences will change a lot at Berlin Brandenburg airport. Let’s see if the disaster airport and other airports will soon offer more direct flights, not just going to major hubs.

change when flying post covid-19

Boeing B777 of SAUDIA

Conclusion 🛫

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. There seems to be some relief at the moment, but the process to recovery will still take several years. Multiple longer-running trends have been accelerated, such as digitization and the phasing out of less-efficient aircraft. Burdened by debt, many carriers have depleted their cash reserves. But the forecast is not without positivity and hope. Travel will become greener and more efficient, and we are all itching to travel again without restrictions.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post: “6 things that will change when you fly post Covid-19” with my outlook. Please do not forget to like and comment below telling me what else will change in the aviation industry. 

Happy and safe future landings!

Your PilotPatrick


becoming a commercial pilot

Should You Still Consider Becoming A Commercial Pilot?

Dear Aviators,

Flying has always been a job with many ups and downs. But what the world and the aviation industry is facing now is unprecedented. We are not talking about a turbulence which will be over again, sadly it is a down we have not experienced since the terror attack in 2001 and the world finance crisis in 2008/2009. This down is more intense and even more unpredictable. Nevertheless the corona virus has not diminished dreams and ambitions to become a pilot. Since the pandemic started I received a lot of questions asking me if I would still recommend becoming a commercial pilot. In this blog post I will be 100% honest with you.

becoming a commercial pilot

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

It is time to remove your pink glasses

and leave the fairytale with unicorns and airlines searching desperately for pilots. Nobody, including me, wants to discourage ambitions and dreams but it is important to talk about how the industry is now and what it might be in the next few years. Even an outlook into the near future is difficult since times are so uncertain. 

When will there be a vaccine available? How will travel restrictions change in the long term? What preventive measures will airlines follow? Which airlines will exist in the future? When will tourist travel come back? Will we ever reach the before corona level?

The list of questions goes on but all answers decide on your question: “Will I get to be a pilot if I start flying training now?”

The current situation is a true nightmare. Approximately 10,000 commercial pilots are currently unemployed solely in Europe and the UK. Thousands of pilots are still fearing they may lose their job because of the pandemic and those who still have their jobs are on reduced pay or on part time hours.

becoming a commercial pilot

Photography by Florian (Professional photographer & Videographer)

becoming a commercial pilot

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

Stagnation of Pilot Recruitment for Years

According to the British Airline Pilots association (BALPA) there will be no meaningful recruitment for about two years. Finding a flying job will be extremely difficult. Especially with the high competition from experienced pilots looking for a cockpit job as well. Pilot training takes approximately two years, so you might be done after the pandemic is over and things have normalized again. However even if this means the demand rises again, an airline would prefer to choose the experienced and type rated pilot first. Nevertheless, I do not want to discourage you because my story proves that ambition and hard work pays off. When I completed flight training in 2010 the job market situation was not really the best. I applied with numerous airlines without any success. I visited an aviation fair, which led to me getting hired – with a little bit of luck, good timing and going the extra mile.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way”

I want you to avoid paying lots of money for your pilot training and then finding out that there is not a single job available. It definitely makes sense to wait at least until mid 2021 to see how the situation is then and if airlines have a more precise recruitment plan. The challenges and risks are currently too high.

pilotpatrick book

Get my book to read about my story: becoming a commercial pilot and more aviation insights.

No air travel like before Corona 

At the moment it is very difficult to assess how the future in the aviation industry will look. But I am very sure that the general demand for flights will not reach the same level as before the pandemic started. Firstly lots of people are suffering from the crisis which means they will simply not have the means to go on a vacation. Secondly the mentality to go on business trips will change or has changed already.

Companies will think twice in the future and decide if the budget for the business trip makes sense, or if the meeting can be done online instead. In general, most companies will be weakened through the crisis which means they will have a reduced budget for travel in general. The business traveller who books expensive business class tickets will fly less, which will seriously impact the airline’s revenue.

becoming a commercial pilot

Photography by Florian (Professional photographer & Videographer)

My honest advice and recommendation about becoming a commercial pilot

Do not enter flight training right now!

If you are leaving high school and you want to become a pilot: I recommend those who are leaving high school at this time, to get experience in another profession or a degree. Once completed you can reconsider becoming a pilot. This way you postpone your start date to a time where there will be a  much clearer picture of the situation. Additionally, some pilots will be leaving because of retirement or a new profession. This will guarantee you a full back-up plan in case you do not manage to get employment as a pilot.

If you have started your flight training already: I think in this situation it makes sense to finish your course with the pilot school in order to receive your license and use every possible resource to find a job and be open to relocate.

becoming a commercial pilot

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

Every personal situation is different, so you need to access the risks and benefits. Be realistic, but still follow your ambitions and dreams. To have a Plan B is advisable for any one of us. I wish I had better news for you, but my intention was to be honest in answering the question if you should consider becoming a commercial pilot right now.

Leave me a comment below your thoughts about this topic and do not forget to like the blog post! Thanks to Florian for the photos of me and Manu for the amazing aircraft photos. Maker sure to check out their work. 

Safe and healthy travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick