Government AffairsPandemic fatigue is setting in among passengers who struggle with paperwork and arranging PCR tests.

The frustration is real: Covid hassles weigh on travellers

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Responses should be a wake-up call to governments to do a better job of preparing for a restart, says IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh.
Responses should be a wake-up call to governments to do a better job of preparing for a restart, says IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh. Photo Credit: Getty Images/tonefotografia

While travellers are generally confident about the safety of air travel and are empathetic towards mask-wearing in the near term, most echo the same frustration over the 'hassle factor' around Covid-19 protocols.

The survey by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) rounded up opinions of 4,700 travellers in 11 markets globally, including those who have travelled in the pandemic since June 2020.

Of this group, 86% felt safe onboard due to well implemented Covid-19 measures, and 90% agreed that airline staff are doing a good work in enforcing pandemic measures.

In general, 85% believe aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, with 65% comparing aircraft air to that of an operating room.

While travellers are generally supportive of the mask mandate onboard (86%) "as long as necessary", a majority also don’t want the measures to become permanent, said IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh.

At the same time, participants admit their struggles with the Covid-related rules and requirements and that this impacts their willingness to travel:

Of the respondents, 70% thought the rules and the accompanying paperwork were a challenge to understand, arranging for Covid tests are a hassle (67%), and 89% agreed governments must unify to standardise vaccinations/testing certifications.

“These responses should be a wake-up call to governments that they need to do a better job of preparing for a restart. Almost two thirds of respondents plan to resume travel within a few months of the pandemic being contained (and borders opened). And by the six-month mark almost 85% expect to be back to travel."

Walsh also highlighted the need for digital solutions such as the IATA Travel Pass, to "avoid chaos at airports as travel begins to return".

He also pointed out the "unacceptable" situations of unruly passenger incidents, which has doubled since 2019 and are "a particular cause for great concern".

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