Airlines including EasyJet, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are seeking to reassure customers about the safety of flying as they look to get people considering flying and booking flights again.
In an email to customers entitled ‘Our Europe with confidence pledge’, EasyJet promises to look after customer wellbeing as one of its core brand tenets, alongside remaining “committed to sustainability” and “offering great value”.
“It’s in our nature to travel. And while travelling as you used to may feel a little different for a while, rest assured that we’re doing absolutely everything that we can to let you explore Europe with confidence,” says CEO Johan Lundgren in the email.
The email lays out in detail how EasyJet will do this, including the introduction of measures aimed at keeping customers safe – such as additional deep cleaning and cabin crew wearing masks. It will, where possible, distribute passengers across the aircraft and has removed its onboard catering service.
EasyJet is also offering customers the ability to switch their flights up to 14 days before departure without a change fee for as long as restrictions are in place. It is also running a campaign to explain its pre-flight procedures and disinfection methods, as well as creating two character-themed ‘Lion’ and ‘Pilot’ mask coverings for children to help reassure them on flights.
EasyJet’s director of flight operations, David Morgan, says: “We have created some bespoke children’s face mask covers as we know the airport environment could feel different and possibly daunting for younger travellers when flying initially resumes. We hope these face mask covers help children enjoy flying with us over the summer and this makes things a little easier for parents too.”
British Airways is also hoping to boost demand with a CRM campaign called ‘Ready when you are’. It has created a series of videos that lay out how it is preparing to welcome customers back through a rigorous cleaning schedule. Plus how customers can help by using the app and its new sanitising stations, packing light, reducing time in the airport and wearing a face mask.
“As we prepare for the world to open up once more, we’ve been busy doing everything we can to make sure you feel safe on the ground and in the air,” says BA in an email sent to customers.
“And we’re ready. We’re ready to get you flying to the places and people you’ve missed. To reconnect you with friends, family and colleagues across the globe. And even though things may have changed a bit since you last travelled with us, we’ll be there, ready to welcome you back on board, whenever the time is right for you.”
Other airlines including Virgin Atlantic and Emirates have made their response to the coronavirus pandemic prominent on the homepages of their websites, including information on health onboard, the steps each airline has taken and travel alerts.
The move comes as airlines look to gradually reintroduce flights as demand builds and countries begin to reopen their borders and lift restrictions. Countries including Spain and Greece are reopening to tourists, although the UK’s guidance is currently to avoid all but essential travel and it is set to introduce mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone returning from abroad.
EasyJet expects to operate around 30% of its planned flights in the final three months of summer, having seen demand slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ryanair saw traffic slump by 99.5% in May and it operated just 701 scheduled flights compared to the 70,000 it would usually operate. Most airlines do not expect demand to return to pre-Covid-19 levels for at least a couple of years.