Thanks to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, the travel industry has crumbled. Of course, things will pass eventually, and people will travel in droves again both for leisure and business. However, the travel industry will inevitably change. For now, no one knows what changes those will be.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian thinks that in the future, passengers may have to present immunity passports. While he didn't provide much in the way of details, in the future, flyers may have to show that they are free of the virus in order to get onto an plane. With immunity passports, Bastian believes that other travelers will feel more at ease.
While airlines and airports may start to demand proof that one is free of the virus, governments are also looking at offering immunity passports. Last week, the government of Chile stated that it would issue immunity passports to citizens who have gotten and recovered from COVID-19. A holder of the immunity passport would be able to avoid social distancing restrictions imposed by the government.
Thus far, there are no plans for government-issued immunity passports in the United States. While immunity passports sound good in theory, they may not actually be viable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is not yet any evidence that someone who has recovered from the COVID-19 is automatically immune to the coronavirus.
Even though immunity passports may or may not become a thing in the near future, airlines are taking multiple steps to protect passengers and crew members. Airlines are deep cleaning and sanitizing planes more, and some are even blocking out middle seats to help maintain social distancing on board. Some of the new steps may become permanent, while others may be relaxed in the future.