During an employee town hall, United Airlines announced it was cutting back on its planned expansion of flights for August and beyond.
In recent weeks, multiple states have begun requiring quarantines for passengers arriving from specific states that have particularly high levels of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have all placed such quarantines on 19 states, and Chicago has announced requiring a 2-week self-quarantine for those arriving from 15 states. Florida has had a 2-week quarantine for those traveling from the aforementioned New York tri-state area since early June.
United management told employees that it is expected to fly about 35% as many flights next month as it did in August 2019, down from the 40% it announced last week.
Furthermore, the airline said that the quarantine in the New York tri-state area has seen a decrease in bookings by 85% in comparison to a year ago. Before the quarantine was announced, they were only (Only? Yeah, I guess “only”) 65% less than last year.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) supports aviation with global standards for airline safety, security, efficiency and sustainability. In late June, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, had written why their organization didn’t support quarantines:
Imposing quarantine measures on arriving travelers keeps countries in isolation and the travel and tourism sector in lockdown. Fortunately, there are policy alternatives that can reduce the risk of importing COVID-19 infections while still allowing for the resumption of travel and tourism that are vital to jumpstarting national economies. We are proposing a framework with layers of protection to keep sick people from traveling and to mitigate the risk of transmission should a traveler discover they were infected after arrival.”
Of course, de Juniac was talking about reopening countries to allow for international travel. But the same holds true whether you’re traveling around the world or cross country: when travelers are forced to quarantine for 2 weeks upon arriving somewhere, their choice is, more often than not, to simply not travel there in the first place.
United says it expects its seat capacity to remain at August levels for the rest of the year. This is on the heels of Delta saying, just a few days ago, that it’s unlikely they will add many more flights after August.
United’s spokesperson during the town hall added the airline thinks people wanting to fly will remain low until “a widely accepted treatment and/or vaccine for COVID-19 is available.”
Reference: NY Times
*** Feature Photo: “Uniting (United 747 in New United Livery at SFO International Terminal G)” by Jun Seira is licensed under CC BY 2.0
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary