Regrettably, short-term or leisure travel is a no can do for now still. Until we see the entire COVID-19 situation officially stabilise or even find a possible cure or vaccine to the virus – we’ll still be staying put in our little red dot.
However, it is not to say that all kinds of travelling have completely come to a halt – essential business travel has been permitted to certain countries. Some countries include China, New Zealand, Thailand, and Indonesia. While a couple like Thailand itself has only begun discussions, our neighbour, Malaysia, has officially opened applications for travel via the land border crossings at the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link and Johor-Singapore Causeway since Aug 10.
So, if you’re looking to expand your business in any of the following countries or establish a new partnership with a business overseas – you must be aware of a few things about business travel first.
Take note of safety precautions steps by airlines
Just like many other businesses across the various industries, the airline sector has taken the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety while onboard the plane. For example, Airlines like Singapore Airlines (SIA) have numerous precautionary measures in place, such as:
- HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters: With the purpose of recycling and refreshing the surrounding air every 2-3 minutes, you’ll find that many of their planes are equipped with these filters.
- SIA Care Kit: Passengers are given a complimentary kit which includes a hand sanitiser, face mask, and disinfectant surface wipe. During your meal, you will receive an anti-bacterial wipe as well.
- Meal service changes: Complying with the regulatory requirements, flights to Mainland China and within Southeast Asia will be in the form of a snack bag instead of the usual meal tray. Other such flights will have their meal services simplified instead. As for alcoholic offerings, SIA has also made the necessary adjustments across every cabin class.
- Contactless flight journey: With the SingaporeAir mobile app, passengers can easily have control of their KrisWorld inflight entertainment through their phones. It also offers complimentary access to a vast e-Library with more than 15- publications.
(Note: this is not an exhaustive list)
Book air tickets wisely
First and foremost, make sure you check for any travel restriction by the governments of both your own and your intended destination. Especially during a crucial period of time like this where COVID-19 is happening across the globe – new restrictions will be established all the time. So, you must check with your travel team or agent, and airline you’re planning to engage with to prevent mishaps from occurring.
It also goes without saying that you should be speedy when it comes to booking flights. It’ll score you promotions, more savings, and secure your trip.
Get travel insurance
Unfortunately, the current insurance plan you’ve signed up for will most probably not cover losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the risk of contracting the virus is pretty high – since the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already made it clearer that the COVID-19 outbreak is a global crisis.
Still, it’s still highly important for you to get it for medical emergencies, flight cancellations, lost personal belongings, and many other reasons. Moreover, in regards to urgent medical incidents, you may even need to call for a medical evacuation to have a professional treat your injuries or attend to your issue right away. Hence, make sure you know who to call when the time calls for it.
General safety tips
Though this has been mentioned umpteen times, many still tend to forget such important steps or even forgo them. Some of the standard safety precautions to take include:
- Bring along an alcohol-based sanitiser (made up of 60%-95% alcohol) or disinfecting wipes.
- In the plane, be sure to wipe areas like the armrests, tray table, TV screen, remotes, and so on. In a hotel or your choice of stay, wipe areas like door handles, switches, the alarm clock, remote controls, the phone, and so forth.
- Avoid handshakes, touching your face, and coming into contact with sick individuals. Maintain a safe distance of 1m from anyone sneezing or coughing, or just anyone in particular if you’re able to.
- Stock up on medication and pack a first-aid kit. Essentials include plasters, a thermometer, prescription medicines, and the list continues.
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 crisis is still a global epidemic that we’re all dealing with. But we see the situation gradually stabilising at certain countries, hence, enabling essential business travel to help the economy.
Still, we must always stay alert and be prepared for any medical emergencies which aren’t just limited to incidents due to the virus, but also other forms of illnesses or injuries. So, know who to call for an air ambulance to ensure your own or other business partners’ safety in the event of a medical emergency.