A New California: One of the hardest-hit industries during the COVID-19 crisis is air travel

Thousands of planes are grounded across the country as we stay safer-at-home. But, once we take flight again, passengers could see big changes inside the airplane.

“The airline industry is the safest form of travel in the world.  Now we’ve got to add this new layer of health care safety,” says Jet Blue Airways Chairman, Joel Peterson.

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Peterson says just as the airline industry had to alter itself post 9/11, it’s going to have to reimagine itself post-COVID-19.

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Peterson says after 9/11 the vast majority of people simply weren’t interested in flying. It took some time, but eventually, passengers got used to the added, extra layers of security provided by the then newly established Transportation Security Administration.

Now, we can expect a similar transition. Peterson says it’s up to airlines to make their passengers feel protected so our new normal could include plastic shields separating seated passengers, maybe even a backward middle seat.

Here’s Peterson’s prediction: “We may not even fill the middle seat or we have people who buy whole rows. I think people will prefer smaller planes. I don't think they're going to be as excited about getting on a plane with another 380 people.”

Other considerations, an in-depth cabin sanitization system after each flight, which could impact turn-around times. 

Also, flight attendants wearing masks and gloves.

In fact, just last week, United Airlines became the first large U.S. airline to require flight attendants to wear face masks.

Also, Monday JetBlue announced it is requiring passengers to wear masks.

This could become the new norm for all airlines.

Peterson says in a post-COVID-19 world, we’re going to need leaders who can create change that’s durable.

He writes about this in his newest book, “Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff.”