The pent up demand for air travel doesn’t seem to be materializing the way airlines hoped it would. U.S. carriers are preparing for drastic staffing reductions once the federal assistance money stops, with no sign that people will start flying again now that their stay-at-home orders are lifted. Still, there was hope people were beginning to fly again because the number of people going through the TSA checkpoints nationwide has been slowly, but consistently, rising.
That is, until this past week, when fewer people went through the checkpoints than the week before, for the first time in the “recovery.” This weaker demand was predicted earlier in July when future bookings and travel searches were both trending downward.
Airlines want to know what’s keeping people from flying or even from wanting to book travel. Who better to ask than people who are visiting an airline’s website?
Earlier this week, I went to the JetBlue website and a dropdown box appeared. They wanted to know if I was considering air travel in 2020.
Selecting yes, you’re asked in which season do you expect to begin traveling.
If you say no, JetBlue wants to know why.
The same for if you say that you’re unsure about air travel this year.
I’m sure that my answer was not one JetBlue wanted to hear.
Because it’s not safe to travel anywhere. You never know where the next hot-spot will happen.
Maybe I worded this poorly but it gets my point across. How can you make travel plans right now if there’s no certainty about what things will be like in three weeks, three months, or next year? Areas are going back into lockdown mode to try and stall a spike in cases. Quarantines between states are increasing and an attempt to relax travel restrictions by mandating a negative test within days of travel doesn’t work because we don’t get back results in some places for 1 to 2 WEEKS.
That’s the problem airlines are in. The decrease in demand isn’t just because people don’t think airlines are safe. JetBlue, along with Delta and Southwest, are doing what they can by blocking middle seats to make passengers feel comfortable when in the air.
People just don’t want to travel in the same ways they did before. Going on a road trip and being in control of your surroundings has become increasingly important. I can’t think of a place where I’m in less control than when sitting on a plane.
Not to mention that the economy isn’t doing well right now. Even if you still have a job, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have one in the future if things keep going downhill. That’s not a time when people book leisure travel.
Unfortunately for JetBlue and the other airlines, there’s nothing they can do to fix these issues. As long as coronavirus cases are high, people are going to do what they need to do to keep themselves and their families healthy (both physically and financially.) No increased sanitary measures, blocked seats, or low fares will otherwise convince them to get back on an airplane.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary