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Hotel Industry Updates

A Waning Pandemic Means More People Are Ready to Take Off


With the pandemic waning, most Americans are ready to board airplanes again for leisure and business travel.

In a survey of 2,140 U.S. adults from May 11-17, the aviation analytics company Cirium learned that 90% of U.S. travelers intend to fly at some point in the future, and 64% are planning to fly within the next 12 months.

In its “U.S. Traveler Intelligence Report,” Cirium found that 78% of travelers intend to travel for leisure. Of those who travel for business, 67% indicate their employer will permit travel in the next three to six months.

About 40% of respondents plan to fly this summer, but only a small minority had plans to travel by air for major holidays such as the July 4th weekend (16%) and Labor Day weekend (17%).

Cirium’s survey also revealed that 78% of Americans with plans to travel this year are only planning for domestic trips. Only 22% expect to fly internationally in 2021. The survey also reveals that more than 25% of respondents have flown since the pandemic. About 60% of respondents indicate that the pandemic will have no impact on their long-term travel plans.

“Cirium’s traveler survey identifies the confidence of the U.S. in flying again, with a majority taking to the skies domestically already — mainly to visit family,” said Jeremy Bowen, CEO at Portland, Ore.-based Cirium. “The results indicate that the challenges facing U.S. airlines is not lack of travel demand, but on the health and safety measures in place at the airport and in flight. U.S. business travel may see some green shoots of recovery in the fall of 2021, as corporations plan to release restrictions on travel.”

While U.S. airlines are increasing domestic flights for the summer and Americans show interest in flying again, travelers expressed health and safety concerns, which impact their travel decisions, according to the study.

Cirium found that respondents strongly support the adoption of health passports for future air travel, with 59% supporting a requirement to carry mandatory passes to fly, though 20% disagree with the idea. When asked what airline measures would increase their motivation to fly, the majority of participants identified mandatory mask-wearing (61%) and improved cleaning processes (61%) as the top two measures.

More than half the respondents reported that they could work remotely and 40% of these respondents claim that the pandemic has increased the chances that they would combine a vacation with work, Cirium found.