Snacks and middle seats may be thing of the past in post-pandemic flights

Air travel has come to a grinding halt during the COVID-19 crisis, but what will flying look like in the future?

"Every crisis changes the way we fly," said transportation analyst Seth Kaplan, who added that many of the changes we are seeing now will likely become permanent.

There are four big ways air travel will change, or as Kaplan calls them, the four M's.

MASKS

Many people will be wearing masks on planes, even years beyond this pandemic.

"Everyone just becomes a little more permanently germaphobic and that's what's happening to us right now even if we don't realize it," Kaplan said.

MINIMAL SERVICE

Those little onboard snacks or free beer and wine on international flights will be a thing of the past.

"They've stopped doing all of that right now on health grounds. They don't want the flight attendants to have to interact with customers more than what is absolutely necessary for safety, but those things aren't coming back," he explained.

MIDDLE SEATS

Airlines have already stopped booking middle seats, which is not a problem now since flights are nearly empty, but the industry is already getting ready for a potentially permanent change.

"There are some airlines around the world preparing for a future, or at least a mid-term future, if not forever of having to block middle seats," Kaplan said.

MONEY

Kaplan says to expect to pay more for a flight in the future, especially with less seat availability.

"In the medium-term, if they're going to have to block middle seats, that could tend to push up airfare, because they would be trying to get the same money from fewer people."

If you are planning to fly soon, to try to avoid getting sick, book the window seat. You're not surrounded by as many people and farther away from people passing in the aisle.

Also, take advantage of flexibility now, many airlines are waiving change fees for flights booked during this crisis.

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