Still A Great Way To Fly?

SIA ad

IT looks like a dream sequence in a low-budget superhero flick shot in slow motion. 

Unmasked people — luggage in hand — floating between buildings and across water, turning somersaults, drifting towards the airport and boarding a Singapore Airlines plane served by cabin crew, presumably smiling behind their masks.

SIA’s slogan may be “It’s a great way to fly”, but these days it may just as well be “It’s great to fly”.

In a confining world, thanks to the COVID-19 virus, the baited hook for the battered airline industry lies with the desires and dreams of the desperate traveller, be it for business or pleasure.

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Do people want to go through the rigmarole of travel, and the conditions imposed upon them at journey’s end?

The long, grounded spell only pushed the world to find alternative solutions. Working from home, virtual meetings, shopping platforms, home delivery services have allowed business activities to continue.

The airlines may see a shift in traffic flow as people weigh the increased cost and hassles of flying — longer travel times, testing, insurance, possible quarantine and being stranded as a result of rule changes — against the loss of jobs, and upcoming economic and personal challenges.

How many people will still want to travel for a short getaway at the drop of a hat?

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For the travel-starved folks tired of being confined to a small island since April 2020, and weary of cycling, walking, jogging, food delivery and virtual catch-ups, the desire to stretch their legs and spread their wings must be a welcome relief, even if it’s conditional.

Pandemic Losers

Among the many lessons that the pandemic has tossed up, here’s one for those who like to put off doing things.

I’ve met many folks who will forego treating themselves well and go to great lengths to build up their nest egg so that they can retire and enjoy life after discharging their duties. Top on the bucket list for most of these retirees is travel.

Well, that dream turned into a nightmare quite quickly for them with the arrival of COVID-19. When things open up eventually, there’ll be a lot of catching up to do.

Problem is, we have no clear picture of what lies ahead.

SIA’s new advertisement still feels like a tease since there’s so much uncertainty surrounding travel, and with all those strings attached, how can you not be ill at ease?

With a wildly fluctuating state of affairs arising from the spiking number of positive cases and Singapore’s elevation to the highest risk level by the US, the idea of travel without hassles is still one that is out of reach.

And how many have had their travel dreams burst as those travel bubbles keep popping before they are fully formed? Now, the idea continues to be floated along Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL). 

There are currently 10 countries on the VTL list, and more should be added unless the virus delivers another dramatic twist that sends the infection numbers up, or there’s back-pedalling by governments in the name of safety.

For some time to come, it looks like those who want to board a plane will still have to come to terms with varying systemic coping mechanisms, including vaccines, testing, masks and quarantine measures.

Is that a great way to fly?

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