From the 26th of June, leisure airline Corendon will offer “corona-free” holidays to a limited number of destinations in Turkey from Amsterdam. The trips, operated by sister carrier Corendon Dutch Airlines, will begin with passengers being tested for coronavirus at a facility near Schiphol airport. Travelers will then be kept in a COVID-free bubble throughout their holiday until they return home.
Only all-inclusive guarantees virus-free trip
The airline can only guarantee an entirely virus-free environment if travelers fly with its planes, and of course, stay at hotels belonging to the group. Travelers will not be allowed to leave these facilities; hotels that is, not the planes. Steven van der Heijden, CEO of Corendon Dutch Airlines, was quoted by Aviation24.be as saying,
“A holiday where you have to keep 1.5 metres apart or wear mouth masks is not a holiday for us. We want our customers to be able to move freely during their holiday and we will take care of that from 26 June. (…) The only restriction is that guests cannot leave the resort because we can no longer guarantee their safety.”
Pre-departure testing close to the airport
Holidaymakers traveling with the operator will be tested at the Corendon Village Hotel, a facility belonging to the group and located three kilometers from Schiphol Airport. After that, Corendon says it will ensure that passengers stay in a contamination-free environment as far as possible. This will include transport to the airport, check-in, boarding, flight, and at the hotel of their holiday destination.
This means that transfer bus drivers, pilots, cabin crew, and employees of hotels at the destinations will also be tested regularly for the virus. The airline intends to provide a standard range of services throughout the flight, and passengers will not be required to wear face masks or to keep 1.5 meters away from each other.
The tests will cost €50 (about $54) person, and the first destination is reported to be Antalya on the southwest coast of Turkey.
Is Corendon on to the future of leisure?
Corendon Dutch Airlines is a charter airline operating out of Schiphol and Maastricht Aachen Airport. It is a sister airline to Turkish Corendon Airlines and has a fleet of four Boeing 737-8, whereas its larger sibling operates 16 of the same model.
Is this the post-corona leisure travel of the future? Will we see varying fees for different levels of virus-free guarantees? A new COVID-testing ranking system for airlines and hotels? What about insurance and the lawsuit potential, particularly in the US, should a passenger fall ill during one of these trips?
And just how much of a guarantee can a company actually provide? Will the requirement to stay at the hotel be voluntary, or will people be locked inside the gates? Because, of course, if people were to leave the corona-controlled premises of the hotel, they would jeopardize not only their own virus-free existence but the whole cohort of charter travelers who have let down their social distancing and hand-sanitizing guard.
Are we seeing the future of holiday travel for years to come? Would you go on a COVID-free hotel-only holiday package trip? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.