Summer travel numbers saw a decline last week, indicating that rising concern about the Delta variant of the coronavirus is reducing demand for air travel. Cancellation numbers increased even as passenger numbers and flight fares decreased.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened only around 1.7 million people throughout the country on Tuesday, August 10th, the lowest number in over two months. Wednesday was not much better with similar numbers. On Saturday, August 14th, only 1.8 million people traveled from various airports across the country.
Domestic demand has been flat since July 4th, according to travel booking website Hopper. According to travel itinerary app TripIt, the average price of air trip bookings, before fees, is currently down $76 from the end of June. According to the TSA, this is the steepest decline since April.
People rushed to plan vacations once the COVID lockdown orders in 2020 started easing up. This became apparent in March as scores of spring breakers took to the skies. As more Americans got vaccinated, travel grew even more popular. By June, there were clear indications of a summer travel boom. This was clearly seen during the busy Fourth of July weekend when air travel numbers exceeded pre-pandemic levels. However, with the Delta variant becoming prevalent, travelers are finding themselves rethinking their travel plans.
According to the latest JPMorgan Chase data, airline ticket sales decreased in July as the delta variant proliferated. Sales were down nearly 20% compared to only a few weeks before. The travel slowdown comes even as US airlines continue to struggle with labor shortages and resulting flight cancellations and delays.
Is it okay for me to travel now?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, fully vaccinated individuals can travel within the country with little risk. This means that persons who have been vaccinated can travel with reduced risk, especially when additional protective measures such as social distance and mask-wearing are used. The CDC does, however, recommend postponing travel for unvaccinated persons.
Keep in mind that vaccinated people can still be asymptomatically infected and spread the virus to others, so they must consider who could be exposed. So, if you’re going to be in a place with unvaccinated people who don’t have the same level of protection as you, you could make them sick.
If it’s a worry-free travel experience you’re looking for, you should consider driving yourself to the airport instead of using public transport. You can always use Way.com to book contactless LAX Airport parking, JFK Airport parking, ATL parking, or parking for whichever city you are in.
Traveling right now can be risky if you’re not vaccinated. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, make sure to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and avoid crowds. You can minimize the risk of being exposed to pathogens on the way to the airport by avoiding public transport driving yourself. You can further reduce your risk by booking your contactless airport parking spot online, ahead of your travels.
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