I used to fly quite often, generally every other week, and now that I have not been flying for 6 weeks in a row, it seems very strange to me. As a matter of fact, in these days, unless for urgent matters, there is no reasons for flying on business as there is nowhere to go to: no events to attend (conferences are cancelled at least until October) and no business meetings organised in presence (everything is carried out and discussed online). For personal reasons, people try to avoid travelling by plane as the current offer is poor. Companies are being resuming services just in these recent days with reduced timetables and destinations. Hopefully, by September things should improve a bit…
It is quite understandable that air carriers are so cautious in resuming their services as different lockdown measures in countries made planning air travels pretty complicated: in June there were at least 3 different dates when borders reopened in some EU member states while the UK started to impose 14-day quarantine on anyone entering the country (from 8th June until the end of month, at least) although, I have read on The Times, no quarantine will be imposed to British travellers returning home after spending their holidays in a selected group of countries (?!?), making the overall situation even more complicated.
What is annoying, though, regards the behaviour of some air carriers that schedule some services and then cancel them with short notice justifying the decision as due to the Covid-19 situation, which is not acceptable. Then, even worse is the habit of not reimbursing the ticket cost but offering a voucher for another flight to be used within a few months. Many customers complain that call centres of many airlines use all tricks available (including cutting off communication or putting calls on hold for tens of minutes) to avoid the possibility of giving money back. In this way, companies get double benefits: don’t run the flight and don’t disburse money. Besides, they well know that people can change future plans, forget to redeem the voucher, etc. so they can keep the money in their pockets to compensate the loss of the past months to the detriment of customers.
This behaviour is indifferently adopted by low-fare as well as flag carriers that should be heavily fined by relevant Civil Aviation Authorities.
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO
P.S. The June 2020 EPN Consulting Newsletter is available here.