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The new normal

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On Saturday (September 19, 2020), I travelled from Lahore to Karachi for the first time since Covid-19 hit our streets and restrictions of sorts were imposed. I preferred to travel by PIA for its low airfare and because I expected it to observe government guidelines on social distancing better than the private carriers. My travel on PK303 was the result of commencement of the first post-Covid Executive MBA class at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, where I teach the Strategic Human Resource Management course.

It was pleasantly surprising that the Airport was not crowded and the airlines check-in counters had been increased to avoid rush. At every few feet instructions to keep distance were imprinted on the floor for people to easily follow and avoid bumping into each other. Inside the aircraft it was, however, a different story. Each row had six seats, three on each side. In an ideal situation the middle seat on each side of the row could have been left vacant to provide the much touted and needed social distancing. That would have meant one third vacant seats and loss of much needed revenue. I was dismayed at this disregard of the instructions of the government regarding social distancing by a government entity. Other than this the flight was right on time as was the return flight the very next day. Each passenger and the crew kept their masks on throughout the flight. Hand sanitizing gel was frequently offered by the crew,........

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