Yet the same report from Hopper found that 39% of survey respondents plan to travel for the holidays this year, three-quarters of whom plan to board a plane in December. And only 17% of these would-be holiday travelers have booked their flights yet.
In other words, there’s a lot of (potentially) pent-up demand. If those respondents who say they plan to travel but haven’t booked their tickets yet do so, we could see a big spike in prices, packed planes and long security lines. Unless you’re absolutely desperate for things to “return to normal,” that would be bad news.
My prediction: A lot of these plans are wishful thinking. Some COVID-19 models predict that things are due to get worse by December. But even if infection trends stay the same, visiting one’s relatives during the busiest travel season of the year will remain a relatively risky endeavor. I expect (and hope) many feet will turn cold as the weather does.
Guesstimaybe #2: Lodging in small cities will be pricey
Those with the desperate need for turkey or human companionship who are willing to fly this year will need somewhere to stay. Some, undoubtedly, will crash on the pullout sofa as usual. But many will want to find stand-alone lodging to protect themselves and their families. And that’s where things could get interesting.
I don’t expect hotel or vacation rental prices to go up much in large cities, which have plenty of rooms to accommodate business travelers (before they went extinct). Small and medium-sized cities, however, could see a supply crunch as more holiday travelers than usual seek their own rooms this year.