After a summer of socially distanced road trips, more US travelers are now looking to fly for the holidays this year instead of drive, according to new research. The study, released by travel booking platform Hopper, shows that for those who are planning to travel over the holiday season, about half said they planned to book a flight for Thanksgiving and nearly 75% said they’d fly in December.
For many in the US, traveling for the holidays will likely be the first time they’ve been in an airport or taken a trip away from home since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Hopper’s research also indicates that despite COVID-19, Americans seem willing to travel as far as they need to go, with 32% of people saying they would be willing to take a 1-4 hour flight, 25% would take a 4-8 hour flight, and 21% said they would take an 8+ hour flight. Only this past week has the TSA reported that it screened one million airline passengers in a single day, the first time since March.
Hopper’s Holiday Travel Confidence Report showed that 39% of respondents said they plan to travel this year and that 21% will not travel, even though they would have in a normal year. The lack of travelers has led to a huge decrease in Christmastime flight prices, which have dropped 40% for domestic flights and 22% for international flights compared with prices from 2019.
Some countries are starting to reopen their borders to Americans, and there are also differing state-by-state requirements for domestic travel. The closure of the US land borders with Canada and Mexico were recently extended until at least November 21. The most popular domestic destinations for a Christmas trip are Dallas, Tampa, Miami, Houston and Orlando, according to Hopper.