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Do Americans Still Want to Travel and Which Airlines Will They Fly With?

The Dollar Flight Club has analyzed more than 100 million flight segments and surveyed its one million members to gain insight into how COVID-19 will impact domestic/international airfare prices & travel demand in 2020 and into the future as travel demand rebounds.

As well as listing the airlines perceived by travelers to be the best (and worst) for COVID-19 safety, the report also reveals the top destinations for U.S. travelers in 2020.

Inevitably, domestic and international flight movements are down and the aviation industry is struggling. To counter this, airlines are expected to keep prices as low as they can to encourage travel then increase domestic fares by 21% through 2025, and international fares by 27% over the same time period. Currently prices are down as much as 41% with the Dollar Flight Club spotlighting deals such as $261 for a New York to London round trip and $109 for a Los Angeles to Chicago round trip.

Looking at past industry downturns, 9/11 saw airfare prices drop by 18%, with a 25% increase recorded post-recovery in 2003. More recently, the recession saw prices fall 21% in 2008 and 2009 before increasing by 24% in 2012.

The top domestic destinations for U.S. travelers in 2020 are San Diego, Denver, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Chicago and Boston. Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, St. Lucia, Croatia and Bali are the top international destinations.

People are still booking trips, with 77% of survey respondents saying they feel comfortable traveling internationally from September to December, and 63.7% already have a trip booked. In the shorter term however, 13.2% have cancelled a July/August trip and 28.9% due to travel this summer have moved their trip to later in the year.

So which airlines do travelers trust the most? Delta, Alaska, Southwest and JetBlue head the list of most trusted for COVID-19 safety, with American, United, Spirit and Frontier ranked the worst. United recently announced that all customers are required to wear face coverings at 360 airports and it was the first major U.S. airline to require cabin crew to wear face coverings in early May, so its lowly ranking comes as something of a surprise, as does American’s although the latter’s cause would not have been helped by media reports in June that a flight from New York JFK to Los Angeles was the source of an outbreak in March.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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