Has travel changed?

November 20, 2022

There’s no doubt in my mind that travel has changed since Covid.  It seems people now have a sense of urgency to travel.  Covid has reminded many people of their mortality, and many now feel like they need to make up for the past two years of being unable to travel and do the things they took for granted.  Here are a few things I’ve noticed about travel.

Business travel is no longer the driver for airlines.  With remote work, videoconferencing, and less business travel, many airlines are now seeking to fill business class seats typically targeted to business travelers to upmarket leisure travelers.  Many travelers have a pent-up need to travel and experience the ultimate travel experience in getting to their destinations.  More and more airlines are recognizing this and trying to meet this demand by creating business-class mini-suites with privacy doors that help travelers to create their own space.  While this has been more prevalent with international airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Emirates.  Domestic airlines such as Delta and JetBlue now have offerings such as the Delta One suite and JetBlue’s Mint suite.

I recently flew Qatar Airways Qsuite, and the experience was all that it promised.  There was ambient mood lighting, plenty of power ports, fully lie-flat beds, generous seat storage space, privacy doors, and a do not disturb button for total privacy.  I traveled alone and opted for a window seat.  However, when traveling with family and friends, there is an option of seats with movable panels that allows you to have room to socialize and sleep with your travel partner.  I did take advantage of the turn-down service, and the flight attendant made my bed with a quilted mattress, pillow, and duvet.  Pajamas and slippers were provided, but although the suites come with doors, they are not floor-to-ceiling, so privacy is incomplete for changing.  However, all the bathrooms were sizable to change in comfort.

The onboard dining experience was truly top-tier.  Meals are not delivered on a tray, but flight attendants individually each table with freshly baked bread, delicious appetizers, and plenty of meal choices available.  There were also options for dietary needs.  I could dine at once, have my meal served in courses, or dine on demand.  My flight was over 16 hours, and since a full-service restaurant was available in the airport lounge, I ate at the airport and had my onboard meal much later after a nap.

In all my recent travel, which have all been business class, travel indeed has changed.  Business class was much more relaxed, and travelers appeared to be more leisure travelers than business travelers.  Many have said that the new trend in travel is to go big and spend big.  I would say there are much more leisure than business travelers, and people choosing to travel long distances and budget for their bucket list destinations rather than tourist travel.  What do you think?  Let me know in the comment section.

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