As new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to decrease (The New York Times reports a -18 percent change over the last 14 days), travelers—and especially active travelers—are expressing less concern about air travel. They also support continued safety measures, as well as proof of vaccination as a means to transition back to “normal,” according to recent research by J.D. Power.
For the first time in since summer 2020, more customers are “unconcerned” (25 percent) about being exposed to COVID-19 while traveling compared with those who are “extremely concerned” (15 percent), the survey found. “While there’s still a fair amount of concern about being exposed, 58 percent of respondents expressed moderate-to-little concern. That should make airlines very bullish about the second half of 2021, when the mass availability of vaccines could render travel restrictions obsolete,” the report says.
The vaccine rollout is having a positive effect on travelers’ mindsets, but perhaps not as much as you might expect, J.D. Power notes. Only 30 percent said, “the vaccine will allow me to travel more than I had previously planned.” Another 40 percent said access to the vaccine makes no difference to them in regard to how much they planned to travel. Nearly another 30 percent added, however, that the vaccine will have no effect as they will not travel as often going forward as they had in the past.
Additionally, travelers seem to be in favor of a “digital vaccine passport,” with one-third (33 percent) saying I should be required and another 32 percent saying it was a good idea but should be option. Interestingly, these numbers match an earlier survey by Piplysay, which polled over 30,000 people aged 18 and up in the U.S. from February 5-7 and found that 65 percent believed a vaccine passport will be a useful tool to keep a check on the virus. One in five (19 percent), according to the J.D. Power survey, said it was a bad idea and should not be introduced.
J.D. Power adds that, “as has been a constant throughout the period we have been tracking this data, mask wearing by passengers and staff is, by far, the most important safety measure to travelers.” This received support from 58 percent of those surveyed; “improve cleaning at touchpoints” followed at 16 percent when asked about the most important safety measures for travelers. The use of hospital-grade disinfection, spreading out departure gates and queue management/distancing all received 6 percent of the votes. And, even after the COVID-19 threat has passed, nearly half (42 percent) said they would continue to wear their mask and practice social distancing through 2021 or longer.
Data for this report was derived from J.D. Power Passenger View, an in-airport passenger survey. The Passenger View data in this report is based on more than 1,500 respondents traveling through a major U.S. airport the week of February 3-10, 2021.
Source: J.D. Power