What the airline, hotel, tour and cruise industry is doing to make your holiday safe:
Whether you're booking a local weekend break, planning your December trip or your 2021 holiday, we’ve got you covered! Never before have protocols been more important when travelling, or has travel involved more complexity.
Luckily the Flight Centre team of experts are here to assist you and answer any questions you may have.
Thankfully, the stats show that flying isn’t nearly as scary as we may have initially thought. Out of 1.2 billion travellers that have flown in 2020, only 44 COVID-19 cases were reported in which transmission was thought to have occurred on the airplane (this includes confirmed, probable and potential cases). In fact, it’s quite likely that flying has never been more hygienic than it is now.
Firstly, airplanes use hospital theatre-grade air filtering systems that recirculate cabin air every three minutes, meaning that the air on the plane may be healthier than the air circulating in your office, according to the EU Aviation Safety Agency. Secondly, airlines have stepped up their cleaning procedures even more, deep cleaning aircraft as per IATA's stringent guidelines to minimise any droplets that may linger on surfaces.
But of course, it’s always recommended (pandemic or not) to wipe down tray tables, bathroom door handles, and armrests. Use disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser to keep your space and your hands clean throughout your flight, minimising your chances of catching any other germs too, such as the pesky common cold or flu.
Just like the airline industry, the hospitality industry has implemented some of the most stringent health and safety protocols across all industries.
Of course, these enhanced protocols mean that, just like travelling through the airport and flying, the hotel experience may look different than it did pre-pandemic.
Here's what to expect from your accommodation establishment:
• Temperature scans upon entering premises and compulsory use of hand sanitiser.
• You’ll be asked to complete and sign a health questionnaire.
• Thorough staff training on COVID-19 preventative measures, with educational signage for both staff and guests.
• Staff wearing PPE.
• Social distancing in public areas, including dining areas.
• Guests may opt for room service if they feel more comfortable doing so.
The Flight Centre team has carefully vetted hotels to ensure that we’re offering our customers the most "COVID-friendly" accommodation.
Never before has the local tour industry needed your support more. New regulations ensure that tour operators and tourist attractions adhere to health and safety protocols.
Feel safe knowing that social distancing regulations are adhered to. You can also opt for private self-drive experiences and guided tours for greater social distancing and to explore South Africa, while supporting these small businesses and guides as well! You may be expected to provide your contact details to the operator or when entering buildings, shops, restaurants and more.
As with all attractions and sightseeing experiences, book ahead. The days of just "pitching up" and deciding "last-minute" what to do for your holiday, for now at least, are better replaced with some careful planning, with the help of your Flight Centre Travel Expert.
As for guided touring companies, some have suspended tours until next year while others are slowly starting to run selected, small group guided holidays around the world. All will have to adhere to the guidelines from the World Health Organisation, as well as local health authorities. For example, popular guided holiday brand Trafalgar has suspended all Europe and Britain trips departing until 28 February 2021, and all other worldwide trips up and until 31 December 2020.
Others such as G Adventures have reduced their small group sizes even more on selected tours, offering a maximum group size of only 12 travellers. If travellers are not able to travel now, they can opt for future travel credits (dependent on supplier conditions), giving peace of mind and flexibility to rebook at a later stage.
The cruise industry has used the “downtime” of the last few months to work incredibly hard on their health and safety protocols.
In an industry first, two mega cruise leaders, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd and Royal Caribbean Group, have joined hands to form a “Healthy Sail Panel,” a collaboration to develop enhanced cruise health and safety standards in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A panel of experts is tasked with developing recommendations for cruise lines to improve safety and get “healthy sail ready” for the protection of crew and passengers.
NCL has implemented their sail safe programme on their vessels, including all-new air filtration, enhanced screening, sanitation measures, medical resources and responsible social distancing amongst other measures.
In any “normal” year, cruise lines usually open bookings for cruises as early as two years in advance. But this year, many cruise line companies, such as NCL, have already opened their 2022 and 2023 itineraries with a great choice of offers.
Here’s how the cruise industry is working to make your cruise as safe as possible:
• Strict sanitation and disinfection guidelines and regulations.
• Increased space in restaurants and staggered dining and theatre showtimes.
• Larger onboard medical centres, with more doctors and nurses and isolation areas.
• Itineraries may be rerouted to spend more days at sea when needed.
• Upgraded air-filtration systems.
And are you looking for more fresh air and space? Opt for a cabin with a balcony.
Flexible bookings for peace of mind
The second most pressing concern for customers following health and safety concerns is the ability to cancel and change their booking with ease. Ask your Flight Centre Travel Expert about the Moneyback Guarantee on our exciting new Homegrown Holidays domestic travel packages.
Final tips for your holiday:
• Allow for extra time throughout your holiday - be it getting through the airport, boarding or checking into your hotel.
• Wear a mask and bring extras.
• Don't go anywhere without travel insurance.
• Adhere to social distancing recommendations and government regulations at all times.
Your Flight Centre Expert is there to assist you every step of the way to get you travelling both confidently and enjoyably! Contact a Flight Centre Expert here.