The holiday season typically means crowded airports and lots of traffic. But it’s going to look different this year.
“We’re expecting at least a 10% decline,” said AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee.
A recent surge in COVID-19 means a lot of families could be celebrating Thanksgiving virtually. New CDC guidelines say the safest option is to gather only with people in your household, so some travelers might make last-minute decisions.
“What we’ve seen with travelers is this wait-and-see approach. They have plans to travel, but they may not follow through with those plans because they see what’s going on in the environment around them,” McGee said.
While the travel industry has partially recovered from the early days of the pandemic, a fall in holiday travel presents yet another challenge.
“The airlines aren’t going to have their usual holiday cash cows,” said Gary Leff, founder of travel blog View from the Wing.
Every travel and travel-adjacent business is at risk of losing out on money before an almost guaranteed slowdown in spending.
“It’s the last profitable time for several months, because the winter is generally the worst time for the business,” said Leff.
The good news is a vaccine is in the works, which experts say is the only thing that eventually will bring travel back to its pre-pandemic heyday.