The Toy Industry and Flying; We’re Heading For a Bumpy Ride

Passengers on Europe’s biggest budget carrier must raise their hands to use the toilet.

“The New Airline Travel: Fewer Flights, More Layovers, Rules for Bathrooms,” Wall Street Journal


If you are in the toy industry, air travel is a part of life. There is nothing like making person-to-person contact when doing business. At least that was the case up until now.

Some of us can remember when flying was a reasonably relaxed affair. You pretty much walked up to your gate, got on the plane, and left. That was then, and this is now, and flying has become an increasingly more challenging experience.  The charm, if it ever really was there, is gone.

Now, thanks to Coronavirus, it looks like flying is getting even more challenging. Here is how a Wall Street Journal article, “The New Airline Travel: Fewer Flights, More Layovers, Rules for Bathrooms,” puts it:

Airports and airlines are rolling out temperature checks for crew and, increasingly, passengers, as well as thermal scans to spot people with elevated body temperatures. Face masks are now de rigueur for travelers across the U.S. Passengers on Europe’s biggest budget carrier must raise their hands to use the toilet.

I don’t know about you, but raising your hand to go to the bathroom brings back some less than pleasant memories from third grade.  And I think we can anticipate that the cost of flying is going to go up, maybe a lot. Airlines have been profitable for the last few decades because they have been packing more and more people into available space.

Now, we are going to see that trend reverse itself as airlines are forced to allow passengers more personal space as a health measure. If you can no longer pack people into a plane like sardines, than you are going to have to charge more money per available seat. As a result of all of this, flying may actually get more comfortable, but we will pay for it.

And it gets worse, According to CNN,

The local (Hong Kong) government announced this week that anyone arriving from a foreign country is required to self-quarantine for two weeks, and will likely be issued an electronic monitoring bracelet that will alert the authorities if they leave their home or hotel.

Well, that’s not going to work. Some of these new regulations, like the one in Hong Kong, are going to be, hopefully, short-lived. Others may stay around for a while. Bottom line: All of us are going to have to recalibrate when and if we fly to do business.

And if we choose not to fly, how can we “connect” with clients without being in the same room? Will we be able to pick up on body language and other cues that come from sitting in the same room with another person? And what about entertaining customers? It’s a longstanding way to create a relationship and turn it into something that falls somewhere between familiarity and friendship. Will that go away?

Engaging in business meetings online is one thing, but how do you effectively run a trade show digitally? The power of a trade show is the ability to get a lot of people together in one place and allow them to run into each other, creating serendipitous meetings and hopefully new ideas, relationships, business models, and, of course, orders.

Those who put on trade shows may well end up offering hybrid models in which some will attend in person, and others will do so digitally. Will it be effective? We’ll have to wait and see.

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