COVID fails to crush travel desire

by AirlineRatings editors
October 08, 2020
Photo: Wikicommons

The lust for travel remains strong with a new survey suggesting almost seven out of 10  global consumers plan to fly internationally over the next six months and 79 percent want to fly domestically.

The survey of 4000 flightview travel app users by industry data experts OAG describes fears of catching COVID-19 while flying as “tepid” with millennials and Gen-Z most keen to spread their wings.

On a 10-point scale, more than half of consumers rated concerns over catching COVID-19 while traveling less than five, with 21 percent indicating no fear.

READ: Social distancing made luxurious on new Airbus A220 bizjet.

Fears of catching the disease on a plane (40 percent of respondents) were higher than they were of contracting it at an airport (17 percent), despite widespread campaigns by airlines about the measures they are taking to combat coronavirus.

Fears of in-flight infections peaked in Europe at 45 percent and were lowest in the Asia-Pacific at 38 percent.

Between 9 and 16 percent of respondents also worried about catching the disease on public transport, with fears in this category highest in the Asia-Pacific.

The survey found millennials and Gen-Z were less apt to make travel adjustments and more eager to travel domestically compared to their worldwide counterparts.

Nearly one-third had not and did not intend to change their travel habits.

Seventy-six percent of travelers agreed mask mandates were the most effective safety measure airlines and airports could implement, followed by improved cleaning procedures.

“Most consumers, especially younger travelers, are prepared to fly under the right circumstances,” said OAG chief analyst John Grant.

“The lack of fear is certainly surprising and bodes well for the market recovery. Of course, full recovery will be driven by how well we fight the pandemic globally and when travel restrictions are safely lifted.”

The survey also found sharing real-time information remained critical for building traveler confidence, including during the booking process.

At a time there are more airline schedule changes than ever before, it said 61 percent of consumers would value real-time updates and predictions around flight and hotel capacity.

More than half would also value seeing COVID-19 transmission rates at intended destinations.