The summer travel season has turned into less of a season and more of an aspiration this year. Fear of contracting COVID-19 has kept passengers off planes. Airline industry losses are projected to reach 90 billion dollars worldwide, says aviation journalist Chris Sloan.
"It's like flying in wartime. It's a very stark, austere experience. If you're coming onboard expecting all the niceties, the drinks and the Coke and the interaction with the flight crews, you're not going to get that. It's a very, very limited experience and it's really geared to getting safely from point A to point B," says Sloan.
All the airlines have embarked on extreme cleaning protocols. Sloan says planes have never felt, looked or smelled cleaner. Passengers can expect as contactless an experience as possible. Employees and passengers must wear masks, and gate agents are separated from passengers by plexiglass shields.
While some airlines have tried to keep middle seats open, Sloan says, in the long run, airlines need to operate at 70 percent capacity to break even. Much like the 9-11 terror attacks changed security protocols, Sloan expects the coronavirus pandemic to impact and change how airlines do business for many years to come.