Sometime I think little ol' me should be helping advise these billion dollar airlines....lol.
As I said this months and months ago, even here on my blog, that there should be an international airline/airport testing program in place so as to reinstate international travel, and bring back confidence in traveling overseas.
Yesterday it was reported and released that the IAG (International Airlines Group), Lufthansa, United, America Airlines and more all released a joint statement calling for the US & EU to reinstate travel between by creating a joint COVID-19 testing program.
[IAG is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus & Vueling.]
Top Airline Executives addressed the letter to both the US VP Mike Pence along with EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
"The response to this crisis continues to require the cooperation of governments, citizens and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. While we appreciate the comprehensive safety guidelines we feel it is imperative to restart transatlantic flights. Given the unquestioned importance of transatlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the US and Europe."
"We recognize that testing presents a number of challenges, however, we believe that a pilot testing program for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for the government and industry to work together and find ways to overcome obstacles and explore all solutions to protect health, build confidence, and safely restore passenger travel between the US and Europe. Nobody will benefit from a prolonged closure of this most indispensable corridor for global aviation"
My question, why did it take the airlines four months to come together and issue this joint proposal?! This should have been done a while ago. It's not rocket science to come up with this idea. I'm guessing they all had their hopes on the governments allowing flights in July, and when that didn't happen, they now have to try and get the US & EU to work together on an immediate plan to get the transatlantic corridor open ASAP.
I'll say it again, the absolute best idea I think is that you need to be tested upon departure at the airport before going through TSA. This test needs to be extremely rapid [results within 15-30 minutes) and done before check in. My idea.
Step 1.) You arrive at airport, show an official your flight confirmation for international flight that day, and are shown to a rapid testing area. Take test, await results.
Step 2.) Upon test result coming back negative you are then given approval to go check in for your flight at kiosks and bag drop. If you test comes back positive then the airline has to honor a rescheduling of your reservation without penalty, and no sooner than 2 weeks from original date.
Step 3.) In your electronic reservation it is documented you cleared testing at airport of departure and you are clear to fly internationally. Therefore on arrival at your European destination at passport control the officials will see this clearance and allow you to enter the EU.
Basically no one gets on an international flight to Europe from the US without clearing testing.
This assures the EU & airlines you are fit for travel and entry, and they do not need to worry about any international transmission of the virus. The same can be done for EU Nationals wanting to come to the US, they are tested in the EU on departure. This then assures the US that no one from the EU is coming over with the virus. As the US has been closed (mostly) to EU arrivals since March.
Now I know testing is not perfect, putting this into place there are going to be false positives and false negatives, which is going to mess with peoples travel plans (a small percentage), and false negatives could in turn allow for unknown transmission at airport, on plane, and in the EU. Nothing is perfect, but this is what is needed to bring back travel. We travel, we wear masks, we wash our hands, and we go on, hoping some one does not give it to us.
You could be negative, get overseas, be walking around Rome and a local who doesn't know they have virus transmits it to you at a cafe. We cannot completely prohibit international travel like this for much longer. I could just as easily get the virus walking around my local grocer with several hundred people inside, as I could an indoor market in Lyon.
People who don't want to travel, then by all means don't, it's not being forced on you to travel. If you are uncomfortable with the current pandemic climate, then wait it out, stay safe, stay healthy and stay local. I have no issues with that at all. My wife & I are among those of you who are not quite ready to get on long haul plane just yet, but it's in the back of our minds, What would be required for us to green light an international trip? This joint testing agreement would probably do it.
Have a great weekend everyone!, cya next week with more news.
Avenue Two Travel
Luxury Travel Advisor