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Survey Shows American Travelers are Ready to Retake the Skies

More than two thirds of those interviewed said they will be allowed to travel for work in the next three to six months

June 3, 2021

Americans are confident about flying again, with 78 percent of travelers intending to travel for leisure, according to results from a new survey from Cirium, an aviation analytics company. Of those who travel for business, 67 percent indicate their employer will permit travel in the next three to six months. Some 40 percent of respondents who intend to return to the skies plan to fly this summer.

The survey tabbed some 2,140 adults across the US last month, between May 11 and 17, in a nationally representative sample that found a strong majority (90 percent) having intentions to fly at some point in the future, and 64 percent planning to fly within the next 12 months.

More than three-quarters (78 percent) of those with plans to travel this year are only planning for domestic trips. Only 22 percent expect to fly internationally in 2021. The survey also reveals that over one-quarter of respondents reported having taken a flight since the pandemic. Some 60 percent of respondents indicated that the pandemic will have no impact on their long-term travel plans.

“Cirium’s traveler survey identifies the confidence of the US in flying again, with a majority taking to the skies domestically already—mainly to visit family. The results indicate that the challenges facing US airlines is not lack of travel demand, but on the health and safety measures in place at the airport and in flight,” said Jeremy Bowen, CEO at Cirium. “US business travel may see some green shoots of recovery in the fall of 2021, as corporations plan to release restrictions on travel.”

Additional Air Travel Insights

Respondents strongly support the adoption of health passports for future air travel, with 59 percent supporting a requirement to carry mandatory passes to fly. When asked what airline measures would increase their motivation to fly, the majority of participants identified mandatory mask-wearing (61 percent) and improved cleaning processes (61 percent) as the top two measures.

The majority of respondents (78 percent) identify leisure travel as the main purpose for travel, however the survey reveals optimism for business travel returning in the fall.

Of the respondents who said they travel for business, just 34 percent were currently permitted to travel by their employer, increasing to 67 percent within the next three to six months.

The rise in working from home seems to have had little effect on the likelihood to travel for business reasons, as half of US respondents claim there is no change and nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they are more likely to travel for business.

More than half the respondents reported that they could work remotely and 40 percent of these respondents claim that the pandemic has increased the chances that they would combine a vacation with work.