I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my wife and young daughters inside the airport terminal recently, as I normally do at this time of year, as they head off to spend their summer in France.
When I pulled their bags from the car park at the entrance of Heathrow Airport’s departures terminal, I was greeted with a friendly but firm sign telling me that it would be passengers only beyond that point.
Things have definitely changed. My family waved goodbye wearing face masks and face shields when they headed off into the airport without me (at least I saved a few pounds on the airport parking).
In addition to their normal holiday packing, they were equipped with alcohol gels, disposable gloves, additional face masks and an assortment of wipes. They were also planning to use contactless payments wherever they could and avoid using cash completely.
The biggest issue that we had talked about prior to their trip was safety. Can we trust the airport, the airline, and the transport at the other end of the journey? Would the place where they are staying put them at greater risk than if they stayed at home?
To answer the questions, we did a lot of research and made our own conclusions. One of those conclusions was that flying is no longer about the price, leg room or baggage allowance.
The travel risk dilemma faces every business around the world. Can I send my team on business trips if there is a risk of catching coronavirus? Could an employee bring the virus back home with them and spread it to others?
The truth is that there will be uncertainty and nobody can predict what might happen. But the risk can be clearer with access to the right information. I’m proud to have worked with colleagues and our technology partner organization on the Covid travel essentials search for the myCWT website, designed to make the Covid status at destinations around the world clearer.
This addition to our website gives travelers and travel managers a tool to make informed choices about the risks of travel. It also states the precautions that they will need to take at each destination in a clear and concise way.
And this is only the start. We are working to provide useful tools to further reduce the unknowns at this unprecedented time.
In the case of my family, we read as much information as possible about every aspect of the trip and then made sure that everyone was ready to take the precautions necessary for the trip.
The first thing that my wife wrote in her text message when she landed was “Just Landed. Airport and the plane were first class for hygiene!”
NB This blog was written prior to the precautionary measures implemented within France, and quarantine measures on return to the UK, reinforcing the need to repeatedly check if you intend to travel as the situation is fast-changing.