1 in 5 Americans won’t travel until 2021—heightening crisis for embattled airline industry

by | Apr 3, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

Airline travel became one of the earliest industries to feel the sting of the coronavirus, and new research suggests it could he one of the last to recover. The latest targeted study from travel points and rewards firm Upgraded Points, based on questions given to airline travelers concerning the recent global pandemic, offers new insights into American travelers’ plans and concerns, helping to better illuminate the travel crisis as it unfolds. The research also delivers important data about the American airline industry itself, which recently asked for and will receive a reported $50 billion bailout from the U.S. government.

“The airline industry is in a great deal of trouble again,” said Alex Miller, founder of Upgraded Points, in a news release. “They’ve certainly seen their share of difficulty over the years: after 9/11, during the 2008 economic downturn, etc. But this is probably the worst crisis the industry has ever faced. Without millions of travelers on planes and in airports, the industry just can’t make the revenue it needs to survive. Whole countries are asking citizens to stay indoors, and that includes enforcing travel restrictions and closing borders. No one knows exactly when this global pandemic will peak and then begin to recede. So all we can do now is wait, and gather valuable data to help understand the situation as it happens. That is the goal of this particular study.”

1 in 5 Americans won't travel until 2021—heightening crisis for embattled airline industry

1 in 5 Americans’ said they aren’t going to travel again until 2021. Conversely, from the time of the study – about 20% said they would travel again in the next 6 weeks.

Biggest travel concerns: Questions about fears

Overall, the majority of Americans questioned clearly stated that their biggest traveling concern was the COVID-19 virus. But the study broke that question down into a variety of other specific concerns to help reveal the nuanced complexities around the topic. When asked what worried them most—contracting the virus personally or passing it on to others—the majority of Americans responded they were most concerned about contracting the virus themselves. But 32 percent of those asked did express concerns about passing the disease on to others, while still others expressed concern about becoming part of overall community spread. These results are further categorized into specific age ranges as well.

1 in 5 Americans won't travel until 2021—heightening crisis for embattled airline industry

Unsurprisingly, the biggest fear travelers have is contracting COVID-19 from traveling and then spreading it to family and friends.

How and when will Americans feel comfortable about traveling again?

Americans were also asked when they plan to begin traveling again, under what circumstances, and at which airline ticket price. The answers were arranged based on the choices given: an immediate time frame (the next two weeks), then monthly, all the way into 2021. The overwhelming majority stated they had no plans to travel again until 2021, representing 20 percent of those surveyed.

Americans were also given a series of factors to choose from, representing what would make them feel more comfortable traveling, and at which ticket prices. Factor choices given include: Enough Time Has Passed, No New COVID-19 Cases, and Government or Health Officials Give the “All-Clear” to Travel. The results were compiled into percentages, price ranges and further classified into specific age groups.

1 in 5 Americans won't travel until 2021—heightening crisis for embattled airline industry

Read the full study here.

The study surveyed 1,250 people in the U.S., asking a variety of questions related to their travel plans, concerns around those plans, and asking them to identify what would make them feel most comfortable about traveling again. The results were compiled into a series of detailed tables and lists that give exact percentages based on the answers received. The makeup of those surveyed include 55% male and 45% female, further broken down into six different age range groups, representing adults aged 18 through 65 and up. By far, the largest group of those surveyed fell into the 26–34 range, representing 39% of the whole.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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