I had read somewhere that airlines were expecting a boom for travel during the Thanksgiving season and then read somewhere else that they were expecting a bust for the same weekend. So I decided to search around a little more.
The jury is still out about Thanksgiving weekend in particular but for the month of November in general, at least four airlines are not expecting a ton of business.
- The Chicago Tribune recently wrote that American Airlines has cut 86,000 flights out of its November schedule. That’s a 46% decrease.
- The Dallas Morning News reported that United has reduced its planned flights for November by 52%. That gives them only roughly 72,500 flights left. The publication had said a few days earlier that Southwest had also made huge slashes to its November schedule; 38,000 flights, or about 36% (55,000 more flights are to be cut from Southwest’s December schedule, as well).
- Both publications report that Delta has also made reductions, although neither specified by how many or what percent of flights.
No word yet on the other U.S.-based major airlines.
The cuts are, of course, not surprising. Airlines still have only a fraction of the number of passengers they had a year ago, pre-COVID. Pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs of staff can save some money, but not enough to justify continuing with flights if they’re not even close to being full.
“We’re constantly evaluating our network to match supply and demand and have been making regular schedule adjustments since March,” American Airlines spokeswoman Nichelle Tait said in a statement on Tuesday. “In an effort to match low demand resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), we continue to operate a reduced schedule in November.”
Thanksgiving is, of course, traditionally a holiday for large gatherings of family and/or friends. However, the CDC is recommending smaller gatherings and not traveling this year, due to the continuation of COVID-19.
“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together,” the CDC said on its website. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.” Their page also reviews what’s considered Lower, Moderate and Higher risk activities for the Thanksgiving season.
Feature photo: Pixabay
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary