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Demand for future air travel in the U.S. has dramatically plunged in recent weeks, dropping 98.4 percent year-over-year in the second week of April, according to industry trade group Airlines for America, per the Associated Press.
Airline officials said most of the few people still flying are health care personnel fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and individuals reuniting with family members.
With that being said, those suffering from wanderlust at home might be eager to pounce on cheap tickets – but Brian Kelly, CEO and founder of The Points Guy, explained why you should think twice before acting fast.
In conversation with Fox News, the travel expert revealed whether he thinks it’s wise or a waste of money to book flights right now, as well as what the future of commercial air travel might ultimately look like after the pandemic.
FOX NEWS: Is it worthwhile or too risky to book low-fare flights during the coronavirus pandemic? How about six months from now?
Brian Kelly: We do not recommend traveling at this time but if you are interested in booking a flight three to six months from now, just make sure you are aware of the airlines' current policies on change and cancellation fees, as well as consider having travel insurance. There’s still so much uncertainty that there’s simply no way to know what a “safe” window of travel is.
FOX: What do you think the future of commercial aviation travel might look like after COVID-19 is no longer considered a global threat?
Kelly: The future of travel will have to look different. The consumer is going to have different and higher expectations when they travel, whether it’s the expectation of a deep clean of their hotel room to how cautious they will be boarding a flight so close to other people.
Packing humans into small spaces like sardines and not checking people for even the most rudimentary symptoms like fever will become things of the past. I won’t be surprised if face masks while flying, always sanitizing your seat, and boarding smaller groups of people at a time become our new normal.
The state of the travel industry has changed immensely over the past several weeks due to the impact of COVID-19. We are seeing massive drops in airline capacity, TSA screenings, and hotel bookings. That said, the travel industry is extremely resilient, and we are confident we will come out of this stronger than ever before.
FOX: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Kelly: I am very hopeful and confident we will all emerge from this crisis with a better outlook on travel and humanity as a whole... while travel can’t kill the virus, it will be a key part in reconnecting a healing world and reuniting the human race.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.