What the delta COVID-19 variant means for your travel plans

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new survey shows the rise in the delta COVID-19 variant has increased the concern among people who plan to travel by air. The survey was commissioned by the Points Guy, which is a travel website. Nearly 2,400 adults either fully vaccinated or unvaccinated against COVID were asked questions about their travel plans.

Overall, the survey shows vaccinated adults feel a lot less comfortable when around large groups of people. While the survey asked questions aimed at travel, various outdoor and indoor entertainment activities are beginning to worry people. Recently, the European Union decided to remove the U.S. from its safe list of countries for nonessential travel due to concern about the fast-spreading delta variant.

Doctors and nurses dealing with a new surge of patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 delta variant are having an effect on families and individuals who are planning to travel by air.

“We found that potential travelers are definitely feeling anxiety about flying and in some places even traveling to a different city or town. People are less comfortable than they were prior to the emergence of the delta variant,” Melanie Lieberman, senior travel editor for Points Guy, said.

In the survey nearly half, 49%, of vaccinated travelers feel less comfortable flying domestically than they did prior to the delta variant outbreak versus 26% of unvaccinated travelers.

“Pretty much across the board, people who have been fully vaccinated are more likely to feel less comfortable than unvaccinated people who are more likely to say that they felt less change in terms of their level of comfortability,” Lieberman said. “We are seeing a rise in new restrictions with the recent announcement from the EU that they were recommending additional restrictions for American travelers. There is a lot of uncertainty with travel and a lot of people are responding to that with a new level of discomfort than what we have seen throughout the pandemic and those feelings are coming back.”

“There is definitely more comfort with domestic travel. People aren’t worried about getting stranded abroad. They are not necessarily concerned that their trips are going to be canceled outright, that they are not going to be able to get to their destination. So that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing people gravitate toward road trips, destination trips to national and state parks. These types of experiences provide more comfort for people.”

The survey shows 51% of millennial travelers, those ages from 25 to 40, are more likely than other generations to feel comfortable taking a domestic flight. That’s in sharp contrast to 29% of baby boomers who feel comfortable in traveling. Delays and flight changes are often the results of fewer available workers due to the pandemic.

“These staffing shortages are affecting so many aspects of the travel industry,” Lieberman said. “One of the reasons we are encouraging travelers to manage their expectations.”

Over the long Labor Day weekend that’s coming up, if you’re booking a trip by air, it’s really important for you to do your research. Think carefully about scheduling a flexible travel plan that can be rebooked if necessary.

We all feel comfortable knowing that our travel is protected. So, make sure you read the fine print of knowing when you can cancel that trip in order to get your money back.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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