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Dubai Airports CEO: Future Travel Will Be 'as Enjoyable as Open-Heart Surgery'

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 5/18/2020 Rich Thomaselli
a large passenger jet sitting on top of a tarmac at an airport: Plane, Dubai, Airport © Nadezhda1906 / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus Plane, Dubai, Airport

Everybody knows travel is going to change going forward in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. How so?

Well, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths thinks he has a good analogy.

“Going through an airport, the whole travel experience, will be as enjoyable as open-heart surgery,” Griffiths told Bloomberg News Service.

Griffiths already has his workers wearing disposable gowns and safety visors in the Dubai Airports. But it’s just part and parcel of the new world of travel, and many of these policies are going to stay in effect long after the virus finally disappears – hence Griffiths’ prediction that the airport and air travel process, already a burden to many, will only get more difficult in the name of safety.

"Safety will no longer be limited to flight safety but personal safety as well,'' Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview on CNBC last month. "We've doubled down – in fact, tripled down – on sanitation and hygiene (and) cleanliness."

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes also told CNBC last month that some of those temporary measures airlines are currently taking, such as asking travelers to wear masks, might become permanent.

"Just as with 9/11, I definitely think we're going to see some things here change for good," Hayes said.

In fact, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport just put vending machines in the facility that dispense personal protective equipment like masks.

It’s not that easy, however. Virtually every major domestic airline has instituted the policy that passengers wear face masks during the flight. Yet airlines are also telling their crew they don’t have to enforce that requirement onboard.

“This crisis is unlike anything we've ever seen in the aviation business,” Griffiths said. “We're dealing with a monster.”

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