People Are Still Booking Holiday Travel Despite COVID-19 Spikes

Your flight home might be more crowded than you're expecting

holiday travel
A board with information on corona protection measures is located at the entrance to the security control at Hamburg Airport. (Photo by Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images)
dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

Now that November has officially begun and COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country, many of us are starting to wonder whether it’s safe to book flights home for the holidays this year. And as a new report by USA Today points out, if you’re counting on the fact that your plane will likely be mostly empty due to a lack of demand, you’ll need to think again: “pandemic fatigue” has led many to book holiday travel despite warnings urging them not to.

“Based both on what our customers are saying and what our customers are doing, we see a clear divergence in terms of their attitudes toward the pandemic and their intentions towards leisure air travel,” Scott DeAngelo, Allegiant’s chief marketing officer, told the publication. “That is to say, customers believe the situation may once again be getting worse, but their leisure travel activity or their travel booking intent remains largely unchanged.”

Air travel in general has been on the rise compared to earlier in the pandemic as people get sick of staying at home and let their guard down, and many are taking advantage of lower prices as airlines struggle to stay afloat. As USA Today notes, “American Airlines said 45% of its flights were more than 80% full in September, compared with just 20% of July flights.”

Still, public health officials are urging people to reconsider their holiday travel this year. “I am not planning to travel this Thanksgiving unless we see significant improvements,” Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Public Health Commissioner, said in a press conference. “I would encourage you — especially if you normally are getting together with people who are older or have underlying health conditions — to think seriously about whether this is the year for travel.”


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