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American travel plans for the summer

Announcement, Industry trends, News, Traveler experience

US travelers confident to return to skies, business travel poised for Fall comeback

June 3, 2021

A new survey commissioned by Cirium examines traveler preferences of US residents.

  • 40% of Americans who intend to return to the skies plan to fly this summer, but expect to stay home for major holiday weekends
  • 67% of US business travelers believe their employers will permit travel in the next three to six months
  • 59% of the American public support the introduction of health passports
US Traveler Survey Report

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PORTLAND, OR, June 3, 2021: Americans are confident to fly again, with 78% of travelers intending to travel for leisure, according to results from a new survey from Cirium, the aviation analytics company. Of those who travel for business, 67% indicate their employer will permit travel in the next three to six months. Some 40% of respondents who intend to return to the skies plan to fly this summer. However, only a small minority had plans to travel by air for major holidays such as the July 4th weekend (16%) and Labor Day weekend (17%).

The firm interviewed 2,140 adults across the US between May 11 and 17, 2021 in a nationally representative sample. The , the margin of error in the reported data did not exceed +/- 3% at the 95% confidence level.

A strong majority of US travelers (90%) intend to fly at some point in the future, and 64% are planning to fly within the next 12 months.

More than three-quarters (78%) of those with plans to travel this year are only planning for domestic trips. Only 22% 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% 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.”

While US airlines are increasing domestic flights for summer 2021 and Americans show interest in flying again, travelers expressed health and safety concerns, which impact their travel decisions.

Respondents strongly support the adoption of health passports for future air travel, with 59% supporting a requirement to carry mandatory passes to fly—though 20% disagree with the idea. When asked what airline measures would increase their motivation to fly, the majority of participants identified mandatory mask-wearing (61%) and improved cleaning processes (61%) as the top two measures.

The majority of respondents (78%) 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% were currently permitted to travel by their employer, increasing to 67% 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%) said they are more likely to travel for business.

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

Additional insights on air travel in the full report:

  • Awareness of new startup airlines in the US
  • Long-haul flying on single-aisle aircraft
  • Lounge usage and time spent at the airport
  • The influence of sustainability concerns on travel

Click here to see the full US Cirium Traveler Intelligence Report.

The survey into traveler sentiment was carried out by independent market intelligence firm AudienceNet on behalf of Cirium.

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