81% of North American Travelers Planning to Fly Domestically in Next Six Months

CHICAGO—More than 4 in 5 travelers in North America plan to fly domestically in the next 6 months, according to “The COVID-19 Recovery: Getting Passengers Back on Board,” a report from OAG, that explores how the pandemic is influencing traveler decisions and what it will take for the aviation market to recover.

In partnership with J.D. Power, OAG surveyed more than 4,000 global users of its flight tracking app flightview, and found that overall fear levels as it relates to catching the virus while flying were less severe than expected, with most consumers prepared to fly under the right circumstance. According to the survey:

  • 79% of global travelers—and 81% of North American travelers—plan to fly domestically in the next six months.
  • 69% of global travelers, and 73% of those from North America, plan to fly internationally in the next six months.
  • Nearly a third of all travelers have not (and don’t plan to) adjust their travel habits as a result of the virus.

Travel readiness is even more noticeable among millennials and Generation Z. Not only are these travelers more likely than others to fly domestically in the next six months (84% vs. 79%), they are also slightly less likely to adjust their travel plans and behavior in light of the virus (66% vs. 70%).

“Most consumers, especially younger travelers, are prepared to fly under the right circumstances—and the industry must play its part in creating the right conditions,” said John Grant, chief analyst, OAG. “The lack of fear is certainly surprising and bodes well for the market recovery. Of course, the full recovery will be driven by how well we fight the pandemic globally and when event and travel restrictions are safely lifted.”

According to OAG’s survey, North American travelers believe the most effective safety measures airlines can implement today are: requiring all passengers and staff to wear masks, leaving the middle seat open on all flights and distributing individual disinfectant wipes for personal areas.

Travel tech providers also play an important role. During the travel booking process, most consumers would find value in online travel agents (OTAs) providing real-time updates and notifications around predicted flight and hotel capacity (61%) and COVID-19 transmission rates at intended destinations (53%).