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Is it safe to travel for the holidays this year?

It comes as no surprise to people that airlines, among other industries, have been severely impacted because of the Coronavirus. Certain airlines had to lay off many of their pilots because of the dramatic decrease in interest in flying. Now, as international travel begins to resume, and people slowly venture out to see family and friends, there is hope that some of the businesses impacted will recover. However, for the airline industry, it is still well below capacity, and pre-Coronavirus days may be quite some time away.

Is it safe to travel for the holidays this year?

Lots of leftover peanuts

In 2019, 2.5 million people flew through Knoxville’s airport, which was a record shattering number. Unfortunately, Coronavirus had grounded any expectations of beating that number for the 2020 year. Now, there is a struggle just to get back to a normal rate. With some airports only seeing a 10% of the number of passengers that they saw before the Coronavirus, the road will be long and hard indeed.
Major airports like La Guardia and the one in Minneapolis are still not open, and many routes are also closed for the foreseeable future. This, accompanied by a large-scale exclusion of US citizens from foreign countries, serves to cripple the airline industry even further. And while it is true more people are flying and doing so for leisure, most airports are reporting at least a 50% decline in visitors.

Road to recovery

One issue that is nearly universal for all airlines is the transition from larger aircraft to smaller ones. Flight lists are much smaller, and there are flights that may have as few as 10-20 passengers. With that being the case, there is no reason to waste gas flying a large plane when a smaller one will do. In addition, other changes in the industry include the implementation of new safety measures, such as mask wearing and frequent cleaning.

All of this has changed the airlines, but is it for the better? Many are still struggling to get by, and some airlines are saying that it will take them until 2024 or 2025 before they recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. What this means for travelers is that they can expect flight deals to be good and enticing, because the companies certainly need the business. When searching for flights, be discerning not only about cost, but about how the industry will continue to protect people during this unprecedented time.