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#PaxEx Podcast Transcribed: Future of travel in a post-pandemic world

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We are pleased to provide a transcript of the #PaxEx Podcast, Episode 72, the audio recording of which was published on 25 April.

Intro Music

Mary Kirby: Welcome to the PaxEx Podcast, available on Apple and Google Podcasts. This is Episode 72 of the show where we talk about how the airline passenger experience is evolving in mobile, social, vocal world. I’m Mary Kirby and I am joined by my co-host, Max Flight. Max, how are you doing?

Max Flight: I’m doing, well, as well as can be expected, Mary. As you know we just reached a major milestone on the Airplane Geeks Podcast with Episode 600. So I am a little bit high from that still. Pretty exciting.

Kirby: Ah very good, congratulations.

Flight: And how are you?

Kirby: You know, I’m doing alright. Pushing forwards. Max, I don’t know if you realize this but I was raised on end time prophecy as a child. So the last few months have been a bit of a trigger for me on a number of fronts. And suffice it to say my pantry has a lot more dry goods in it now and Spam has even made an appearance for the first time, which is interesting. Operation Armageddon plan is in full swing. But in all seriousness, the hard reality of course is that a lot of people are hurting and suffering right now either as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic or of course the knock-on effect of what it is doing to the economy and people’s livelihoods. And many are facing food insecurity, housing insecurity and sadly here in the United States, healthcare insecurity at a most precarious time. And so sometimes when we discuss the airline passenger experience, especially some of the negative changes that have occurred through the years – such as the tiny lav problem which will prove to be even more problematic in a post-Coronavirus world – it can seem to some people like a little bit of 21st Century, First World problems. And as we reevaluate our priorities in this pandemic, perhaps that’s especially true now. So I want to be cautious and I think it’s important to stress here on the podcast before we get stuck in that we understand that many people are financially hurting and otherwise and in fact many are still waiting for refunds from airlines. And to be completely frank, many airlines have not showered themselves in glory in terms of returning people’s money after cancelling flights in response to government-imposed travel restrictions and so that too is going to color recovery in the air travel industry. Because once bitten, twice shy.

Flight: These are challenging times, different times, yeah certainly some people are suffering more than others, some quite seriously as a result of this so it certainly feels like a time to pull together which I think most people are doing. But why don’t we get started and take a look at some of the PaxEx news stories making headlines. Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic is leading to a staggering number of fatalities around the globe but it is also having a devastating impact on many industries including aviation. As we have seen, air travel has plummeted as governments have enacted stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions and airlines have been forced to park fleets, slash schedules and seek government assistance. A number of regional carriers have gone out of business. Virgin Australia has entered administration. And employees at both airlines and aviation supplies are fearful of losing their jobs. Some have already been furloughed, laid off or accepted early retirement packages. Though airlines are flying only limited schedules including to repatriate travelers, COVID-19 is also rapidly changing the passenger experience at virtually every touchpoint. We are going to discuss some of those changes today and consider whether air travel will be forever altered. So let’s start with the on-the-ground experience. The US Transportation Security Administration is allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers of up to 12 ounces per passenger in carryon bags until further notice. Since the containers exceed the standard allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they need to be screened separately. New protocols are at two international airports, Hong Kong and Dubai. They serve as a good example of some of the changes we might see adopted by other airports. As first reported by Fortune, Hong Kong International recently became the world’s first airport to introduce mandatory COVID-19 testing on entry into the country. Whether passengers exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or not. The airport is also doing temperature checks before passengers enter the terminal, adding more hand sanitizer throughout the facility, regularly wiping down self-service kiosks and employing robots for intensive disinfectant on surfaces. In United Arab Emirates, COVID-19 testing is taking place before flights depart with Emirates becoming the first airline to conduct on-site rapid tests for departing passengers in coordination with the Dubai Health Authority. Thermoscanners are monitoring the temperatures of all passengers and employees stepping into Dubai Airport. In fact, thermoscanning has been adopted by many other airports starting in China where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. Physical distancing indicators are being employed. And similar to what we are seeing at grocery store checkouts, protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk at Dubai Airport, according to Emirates. Additionally gloves and masks are now mandatory for all of Emirates’ customers and employees. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, meanwhile, is laying claim to being the first carrier to trial new airport technology that has the capability of monitoring the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using a check-in or information kiosk, a bag drop facility, a security point or immigration gate. Etihad will trial the technology at the end of April starting with volunteers. It says it will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness. Well Mary, these are lots of changes, many many changes, at the airports we are talking about, before we even get to the airplane. What are some of your thoughts on this?

Kirby: Well Max, it really is clear as you say that virtually every touch point of the passenger experience is changing and very rapidly day to day. So again, as is often the case, no sooner will we discuss it and something else will have changed, you know, when we log off of this podcast. But a company which is known for assisting airlines with managing inflight medical events, MedAire is its name, this week announced it is offering preflight COVID-19 screening services much like you just described. And I think that the MedAire press release kind of speaks to what is in fact already happening in the airports that you cited plus others including London, Lima, and Los Angeles. It kind of may spell what we should expect at other airports soon. So MedAire says that screening is conducted by on-site medical professionals prior to check- in at the origin city. It consists of a questionnaire for contact history and symptom screening including temperature checks. So, going forward, if we should expect preflight medical assessments, temperature checks and other technology employed to do so, plus social distancing at check-in, social distancing at security checkpoints and social distancing at the gate and during boarding, how early will passengers need to arrive at the airport? So when I fly out of Paris Charles de Gaulle, I always arrive at least four hours before my flight. Three is recommended but four makes me feel secure having had some very close calls in the past. And I think to myself – will I be arriving five hours earlier now, six hours earlier? And how many people will say to themselves, ‘sod that it is not worth the headache.’ Now that doesn’t even begin to address the individuals who have seasonal allergies or other medical issues but who don’t have COVID-19 or indeed the flu but will be afraid to fly now out of fear of upsetting other travelers or being singled out during these screenings. And it seems imperative that these screeners are going to need to be sensitive to these issues. And of course it begs the question of whether passengers now need to carry papers, health papers, saying ‘actually no this is not COVID, this woman has seasonal allergies’. And of course there is also a faction of travelers, especially in America, who will see such measures as an infringement on their privacy and their civil liberties and those individuals are kind of coming in for a lot of flack right now on social media, Max, I don’t know if you have noticed that – and on mainstream media – they are coming in for a lot of flack citing concerns about COVID-19 and their civil liberties at the present. And I kind of go back to my own upbringing, as I mentioned earlier, and having in fact had a staunchly Republican father who used to warn his children of the march of big brother and the nanny state. And so whether or not this type of thinking is wrong or crazy, however you want to describe it, a lot of people feel that way in this capitalist society that is still America. So I do wonder what will this all mean to passenger numbers if preflight screenings become a permanent thing. If heat sensing technologies at airports effectively turn each passenger into a heat map. Maybe it will just take time for people to get used to it. Maybe not. America is a little unique in this regard and we are not a socialist country. Some of us would like to see us move in that direction but we are not right now. We are a capitalist country, you know. Also on the face mask front, how many travelers will happily wear a mask for the duration of their journey and what does that mean for eating and drinking at the airport and eating and drinking in-flight? Not to mention just general conversation. I mean I was at the grocery store the other day. I was trying to communicate to the woman that I needed a pound of sliced turkey and we couldn’t understand each other through the masks. So I mean there are a lot of considerations including communication and eating and drinking. An informal poll on Twitter shows that some people will happily don a mask in order to travel. Some individuals insist that they won’t and others say they will wear it if the airline provides it as perhaps airlines probably should because you don’t know if someone is arriving to the airport with a mask that has already been contaminated. So there are so many considerations, Max. Max, will you wear a mask to fly?

Flight: Oh easily, I have no problem with that. In fact I have taken to taking a sharpie to my disposable masks and drawing a little smile on the mask which tends to have a really interesting effect on other people. You can feel them smiling underneath their own masks when they see that.

Kirby: I am going to try that. I am going to copy that, Max.

Flight: We are potentially looking at a lot of process changes at the airports as we are talking about, and it’s probably a lot of awareness training, not training, but communication about what the new rules become at the airport. We are probably looking at maybe some facility changes at the airport as well. So for example, when people are tested arriving on a flight or even departing and if they don’t pass the test, the check, whatever the screening is, temperature, etc, where do they go? How are those people processed? Do areas need to be set up in the airport where that can take place? What about some of the high-traffic areas, like the restrooms and those can sometimes now be kind of mobbed. Particularly if you have large international arriving flights and hundreds of people are getting off the plane and heading for the restrooms. How is that queue managed? And how do we communicate these changes to people? A lot of issues, one of them is enforcement. So if we have new rules at the airport who is going to enforce those? Is it law enforcement, local law enforcement? Airport security? So many changes. So many questions, it has the potential to be so disruptive to the processes that maybe we don’t love but we’ve been used to for all these years.

Kirby: Absolutely and as you know yourself these security processes haven’t always been handled in the way they should. We only need cast our minds back say for example a few years ago to United Airlines and the dragging incident on board. So there needs to be some sensitivity training perhaps in all of this as well.

Flight: Well, besides the on-the-ground passenger experience changing of course inflight PaxEx is changing too. Inflight cleanliness and sanitation is now top of mind. Aircraft are being fogged overnight in some cases. Surfaces are being wiped down. Now some airlines are urging travelers to wear their face masks to prevent the transmission of the virus to others. A number of carriers have formally mandated that crew and passengers wear masks. But one of the biggest and most talked about changes we’ve seen is the adoption of social distancing in-flight. How do you do that? Now Mary you spent a large portion of your career covering the topic of the densification of aircraft and advocating for passengers to have more room to move. What do you think about this decision by some airlines to block middle seats and space passengers apart?

Kirby: Well Max, of course it is deeply unfortunate that it takes a pandemic for airlines to offer passengers a bit more room. Chinese carriers were in fact the first of course to implement social distancing on board under guidance from the government and that was way back in January and then the dominos all began to fall when Coronavirus was officially named a pandemic by the World Health Organization and then we started seeing other airlines follow suit. WestJet, easyJet, Delta Air Lines, United I believe is the latest to say it is going to space people apart. Now in the initial days of recovery the airlines may seek to incentivize passengers to fly with ultra cheap flights but we know that airlines can’t make money on low load factors without pricing tickets accordingly so of course we can expect higher fares going forward. Ryanair, the budget carrier out of my home country, Max, has already warned that it won’t be able to make money with 66 percent load factors and effectively it suggested it can’t fly if it can’t stick people in the middle seat. And no matter how you feel about the Ryanairs of the world, they have effectively democratized travel. So in a world where we are spacing passengers apart and where prices are going up, will air travel become something only for the very rich and privileged? Another consideration is that consumer advocacy groups including FlyerRights here in the US is calling for social distancing on board to truly mirror what we are seeing on the ground and that means doing more than blocking middle seats. Flyers Rights is calling for a separation of passengers by 3-10 feet on airliners, Max.

Flight: Woah! How do you do that?

Kirby: You are looking at skipping a few rows every few passengers. So it’s a whole different ballgame. How does an airline even begin to make money with these suggested scenarios? That becomes, effectively, the airlines’ problem but again if they are going to then price an economy class ticket like a business class fare in order to accommodate, air travel becomes the right of only the very very few. Tiny lavs of course are a huge issue and some passengers already don’t fit into these lavs. God knows we’ve talked endlessly about it because it is so important, Max. You know you have got passengers already on these aircraft having to walk backwards into the lav because they don’t fit or they simply just don’t fit in the door. And some have complained that they can’t of course execute basic hygiene in the lav. Will COVID-19 change the game for aircraft lavs? It’s difficult to understand how airlines on the one hand can implement social distancing while pointing to these tiny spaces in which to execute your hygiene. Difficult to understand how you can mesh these two messages and what will it mean to the onboard lavatories going forward. Meanwhile, aircraft interiors companies are already innovating for a post-pandemic world and Italian company Aviointeriors has stolen the headlines with two designs. One called Janus which creates a forwards/backwards configuration with a wraparound shell for each seat and a head level transparent thermoplastic screen around each passenger and it’s reminiscent, the actual configuration is reminiscent of the long haul business class British Airways Club World forwards/backwards product. Another idea that Aviointeriors is calling a quick and dirty solution simply attaches a similar sort of thermoplastic material to each seat with a cutout for passengers’ shoulders so that you are sort of encased in plastic. So here again, however, passengers of size, including those with broad shoulders … so when we say passengers of size, we do mean passengers of all size. We mean passengers of height, passengers that are broad, passengers that are carrying a bit of extra weight and also passengers with reduced mobility, that need more space to move around. These individuals are concerned about what a new paradigm in-flight involving encasing seats in plastic might look like and whether or not they are going to fit. What do you think of these ideas, Max?

Flight: They are interesting ideas. I think Aviointeriors has come up with some plausible maybe ideas but I think it comes down to – are we looking at an issue that will decrease in criticality in the coming years perhaps or is this a long term issue? If it’s a long term issue I’m not sure it’s sustainable for airlines under those kind of conditions. I think a key factor is something that Richard Aboulafia brought up last night in a webinar hosted by the New England Air Museum and he’s thinking that we are not going to see a V recovery, that it is going to be a longer term recovery particularly for the aviation industry. And he’s looking at recovery maybe by 2023 or 2024 but it really hinges on the availability of a vaccine. With no vaccine and confidence in close quarters as you might find in an airplane, it’s just not going to happen. But with a vaccine then you wonder that if it’s effective, do you really need these things, like these plastic encased passengers on an airplane? And I’m not even sure that they will actually do anything. I kind of think of how you keep sardines in a can from touching each other. Well you can wrap each one individually, put a little barrier between each one but the fish juices are still going to mingle across the sardines and it might be the same with passengers in an airplane.

Kirby: Good point, which might be why so many airlines now are pushing for the, for everyone to wear masks because that’s at least a tangible thing that you can do without reconfiguring an aircraft but I do wonder about the next virus, the next pandemic? I don’t know, COVID-19 has been a real eyeopener, a real wake-up call and you know, do we put measures in place that are preparing us for the next go round? The next pandemic to hit the world.

Flight: People are funny. People have short memories and if the recovery doesn’t extend for too long a period of time and then if there is some gap between this event and the next big one people have a tendency to kind of forget and to go back to their old habits and things that used to be comfortable, so to me that’s a big question that’s open. To what degree is that gonna happen versus us seeing some permanent changes in how people behave? I think there will be some. I am certainly going to, when they become available again keep a good supply of masks and wipes and things like that handy, but other than that how much is going to change my life, I don’t know. Could be a lot, could be not so much. I don’t know.

Kirby: Good point and back to what you were saying about Richard Aboulafia’s words this week. Delta Air Lines also during their earnings conference call Ed Bastian predicted at least three years if memory serves tand he even used the words “several years” to get to a recovery point which is daunting to actually think about that. Several years, wow.

Flight: I really like the title of Richard’s presentation it was something like, pretty close to something like this, “for the aviation industry, it’s like falling off a cliff but without the view”.

Kirby: Okay, yes that says it right there.

Flight: Alright well inflight services have also changed during the pandemic, we’ve mentioned a couple things here. Delta is among the carriers perhaps leading the charge on this front. That US major recently announced that customers in all cabins will now receive their own personal snack bags on domestic flights. The snack bag can double as an individual trash collector once its contents are consumed and I think that’s an interesting idea except the snack bags currently include Cheezit crackers. Don’t you have to lick your fingers after you eat Cheezits? Maybe there is a better choice.

Kirby: Good point.

Flight: Anyway, airlines are removing inflight magazines in the name of hygiene and embracing digital press readers. Even onboard amenity kits are poised to change. Amenity kit making Kaelis has revealed a self protective pocket pouch, or SP3, and it contains a 3-layer disposable mask, nitrile gloves and hand sanitizing alcohol wipes. This is an idea I like. People will love these I think and they will want to take extra SP3 pouches home with them. But it is also a great marketing opportunity potentially. Branded masks and wipes. I could just see us going from ‘United breaks guitars’ to ‘United murders virus’ right on the hand wipes package. What do you think about that Mary?

Kirby: You are right. It’s funny, Max, because I just hit publish on a piece from John Walton this morning addressing kind of the future of inflight amenity bags and I am going to quote him directly because it is just fantastic. He says, “Given that wearing a mask seems likely to be a prerequisite for being allowed into an airport, are actual airline branded face masks going to be the new airline pajamas? Will the hot towel service be replaced by a flight attendant clad in branded PPE walking down the aisle with a tub of Clorox wipes? Is PPE the new IFE? It certainly seems likely that we will see passengers going full Naomi Campbell when they fly. And of course Naomi Campbell is kind of somewhat infamous for her video that she released a year or so ago wiping every surface on board the aircraft down. But I see that happening don’t you? I mean getting on, sitting on your seat and then looking around you and thinking, ‘okay the airline probably cleaned this but I am going to take that extra precaution and I am going to break out my disinfectant wipes and I am going to wipe down the screen, I am going to wipe down the armrests and everything around me.’ I think passengers are going to go there, don’t you?

Flight: I certainly do. I think I will go there too and I think the stigma has been removed that, in the past people would look at you doing something like that and think you were kind of crazy or obsessive or something like that, but yes I think that’s gonna be something that we all do and wearing gloves more often. You hear the phrase ‘the new normal’ but it’s really what it is I think in terms of having to pay more attention to sanitizing things around. But there is always a counter argument to everything and one counter argument is if we over-sterilize things then we won’t become resistant to things we would otherwise as a species become resistant to. And I think in fact Sweden is taking a different approach. I saw a report where Sweden is actually not encouraging quarantining, self-quarantining and social distancing because you want to, and I don’t know if they used this term, you want the herd resistance to be strong and that only happens if you are coming in contact with these things.

Kirby: That’s a good point. You know George Carlin has a good skit on that Max, on immunity. And I am the type of gal who actually has surrounded herself with germs since she was young. I am that person that – and now this is going to evoke a response I know – but I am that person who has on occasion stepped into the aircraft lav with only my socks. I am that person, you know, who doesn’t immediately sanitize her hands after using a gas pump for example. And so, I am on the other side of the spectrum where I have always argued from the standpoint of – I will just surround myself with all of it to build immunity. Knock on wood, I have been very lucky on this front, in that I generally have not come down with serious flus in the past shall we say. But now of course, those are always the famous last words. If you start hearing me cough at the end of this… But the end result is yes, it is interesting what Sweden is doing. I find, I am tracking that with some interest anyways.

Flight: It’s going to be very interesting to see in a future after some data is available about all these different things what the real truth is. Well, let’s talk about the supply chain a little bit. The supply chain, like the airlines that they serve, they are being financially pummeled by the pandemic and it remains to be seen who will survive this crisis and who might sadly have to close up shop and what that might mean for the passenger experience. But Mary I know you have been tracking this fallout very closely. What can you tell us and what does COVID-19 mean for the future of IFE?

Kirby: It’s a difficult situation, Max, to say the very least. The supply chain is of course suffering. Every aspect of the aviation supply chain is suffering, PaxEx very acutely. Now the inflight connectivity world was already grappling with some very serious financial challenges due to reasons that we have discussed in the past and that is of course that passengers don’t want to pay for connectivity, they just want it there like air to work and to be connected but they don’t necessarily want to fork over large amounts of money to pay for it. So the connectivity crowd was having to have a rethink about its model even before Coronavirus but we’ve seen the pain hit a number of stakeholders on that front including and very recently Gogo here in the United States, which is going to furlough up to 60% of its workforce here in a couple days. And we are also hearing from a number of PaxEx suppliers that are furloughing employees, laying people off. Thales and Panasonic recently had layoffs here in the United States. We are seeing smaller suppliers of course seeking aid and relief and going through the Small Business Administration aid that’s provided in the US and now of course in countries elsewhere, where relief and aid is being provided to small businesses. So there is a lot of pain on that front. There are also a lot of questions, open questions about what the future of IFE is going to look like. Now wireless, contactless experiences have already been a thing, Max, of course with the march of inflight connectivity, and the march of streaming video and wireless IFE. That’s already been happening on board aircraft, especially narrowbody aircraft in terms of the wireless IFE solutions. So it seems logical that they are going to gain some steam now. The seatback IFE, there’s a big question mark as to what the future looks like and there is kind of two schools of thought. You have the school of thought that says that’s an inherently touchscreen device that people may not want to touch. There is another school of thought that says we already have technology that allows passengers to use their own mobile device as a remote control so effectively you can leave those seatback screens in place in a post-COVID world and just introduce that technology. It comes at a cost but it’s there, Max, where a person can use their PED to use the monitor in front of them but some will see this as an opportunity for all wireless cabins and some may say no, you know what, having a seatback screen, having an overhead screen serves actually as a broadcast device for us to impart the new inflight protocols the passengers are all going to need. There’s a safety aspect to seatback screens and overhead screens insofar as it allows you to broadcast to everyone. It allows you to broadcast both verbally and visually and in a world where we are going to see new protocols in-flight could airlines use that to their benefit? So I of course remain interested in how it’s all going to shift out and we are trying to look at every angle and on top of everything else the major Hollywood studios have released some of their movies direct to the home market during the pandemic and that has given people a lot of great content during this difficult time which on the one hand is fabulous but on the other hand it effectively squashes that early window movie content that passengers used to get on board cruise lines and on aircraft. So what does it mean for that model that has helped uphold seatback IFE for so long? So yes, we are daring to talk about all these topics on Runway Girl Network knowing full well that, you know, it affects our industry in such a meaningful way in PaxEx however it evolves.

Flight: Yeah, I hadn’t really contemplated the idea that seatback IFE represents a broadcast mechanism for the airline in that way and it makes a lot of sense because I’m inclined to prefer to use my own devices. You know roam on my own and keep my devices current with whatever type of entertainment or work or whatever activities I want to participate in while I am riding in the plane. So that’s where I tend to go. Of course the cost of change, making changes to the IFE strategy is significant and not something that can be changed really quickly I would think. I mean what we have now is not going to change tomorrow and whether or not it changes in the future to accommodate these kinds of new realities might depend to a certain extent on how much it would cost to retrofit these things.

Kirby: Yeah and maybe it’s something where it will be decisions that are made when we get back to a point where new aircraft are being ordered which looks like it’s going to be a ways off for now but yes if we get back to that point. And also, you are absolutely right, you can’t, you are not just going to immediately rip out screens. But at the same token in order to provide those screens with content you are looking at licensing costs. So Global Eagle is a very big provider of content to airlines as a content service provider for airlines and it shared some color about this just a few weeks ago insofar as it said airlines are not refreshing their content right now as you can imagine. It’s like the last thing on their lists, to refresh their content. But will they do that going forward? Will they say to themselves ‘look, we can explain to passengers this is a difficult time, we are all facing challenges, we have not updated our content’ and how many passengers would respond to that with a negative response. I think most people would understand that. I mean content licensing is a cost. The cost of connectivity, satellite capacity is a cost. So how does the inflight entertainment and connectivity industry have that conversation with the airlines and how do they partner with airlines on recovery going forward that sees them remain a going concern because it is cost at the end of the day. We can’t deny it. What do you think?

Flight: From a cost standpoint there’s some interesting things going on and I don’t know if they represent an opportunity for the airlines but fuel costs are extremely low right now, cost of capital is extremely low right now. Many of the other costs that an airline faces are very low right now and I am curious to see if any of them view that as an opportunity to do some things that they might not have done right now, maybe ever, but at least right now and if we could see some sort of creative interesting things coming to bear because of that.

Kirby: Now I think that’s interesting. I think that’s a real possibility and Etihad Airways, again, they’ve taken this time – now I guess they are in a financial position to do so – to do some updates and upgrades to their fleet including IFE. Which is interesting. We highlighted that on the site. So, you are right. There will be airlines that will get creative and I wonder if Delta won’t be among those carriers because of course they’re nearly fleetwide with seatback IFE. So I’d say all eyes are kind of on Delta here at least from a US perspective and I have to say I saw something really interesting on Twitter the other day. Alaska Airlines posted a really positive message about ‘we are all in this together’. And they posted a picture of a flight attendant in front of rows of seats with seatback screens and they were immediately sort of, it was highlighted in the thread where people are saying ‘what is this, what aircraft is this? You don’t have seatback screens?’ Oh this is the few remaining Virgin America aircraft that need to be reconfigured and the Alaska Airlines individual on Twitter said ‘don’t get used to it’. But then someone said, then why are you posting a picture of it, like don’t post a picture of it. So like don’t tempt us with seatback screens. So there is still, what I saw from that thread and what I thought was interesting was there is still a strong contingent of passengers who do want the seatback IFE experience. Now will we be using the seatback IFE in a different way? Will we be simply wiping it down as soon as we sit down and then feel comfortable with the touchscreen device? I mean I guess it’s all to be seen but there is, as you say, an opportunity for some airlines to get really creative right now and say ‘okay well I don’t have a huge fuel bill, let’s put it into content for our passengers’.

Flight: Yes.

Kirby: But one of the, I guess, final interesting things that I’d like to point is that single-use plastic is having a moment in aviation, Max, at a time when, you know, for years airlines have been talking about how they are going to try and get rid of single-use plastic and now everything is being bagged up with plastic and wrapped in plastic. So while the PaxEx supply chain is hurting, those in the plastic industry are probably doing alright right now. So very interesting days but of course we are rapidly coming to a close and I want to thank our listeners. Remember you can find us online at RunwayGirlNetwork.com and on Apple and Google Podcasts. Be sure to follow all the Runway Girl Network activity on Twitter at @RunwayGirl and remember to use the PaxEx hashtag when tweeting about the passenger experience. Join in the conversation we would love to have you.

Flight: And be sure to join us again next time as we talk about the passenger experience on the PaxEx Podcast.

Kirby: Take care everyone.

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