67% of Americans Are Uncomfortable Flying, But Some Hesitate to Fully Cancel 2020 Travel Plans


The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted how comfortable Americans are traveling, particularly older people in regions experiencing surges in cases. While people are apprehensive about flying this summer, they’re still searching for ways to travel safely.

According to a new survey from The Manifest, a business how-to and news website, 67% of Americans are at least somewhat uncomfortable with flying in the next month, limiting summer travel possibilities.

The survey accounts for 351 Americans’ comfort with travel in May 2020 and another 501 American opinions on travel during the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020. The same percentage of people (67%) said they were uncomfortable with air travel in May and July 2020.

Despite concerns about air travel as daily new cases surge, only 23% of people have fully canceled their 2020 travel plans. Instead, 32%of people in the U.S. are stopping additional travel planning while 15% are continuing to plan.

With road travel exceeding pre-pandemic levels by over the July 4 holiday, travel lovers like Melissa James are replacing long-distance travel with road trips.

“Since we’ll be in our own car and can do most of our site-seeing outdoors or socially distanced in museums, we feel it’s the most reasonable compromise,” James said. 

Regional Hotspots Increase Travel Anxieties

Residents of regions that have seen more success with flattening the curve are more comfortable with air travel now than they were in May 2020. For example, the number of people in the Northeast who were very uncomfortable with flying decreased from 67% to 51% from May to July.

Conversely, residents of virus hotspots since May 2020 are less comfortable with flying in July 2020. Extreme discomfort increased from 35% to 43% in the West and from 48% to 58% in the South, mirroring spikes in positive coronavirus cases.

At-Risk Demographics Experience Greater Travel Discomfort

COVID-19 hospitalization records show that older Americans are more vulnerable to severe cases of the virus.

The Manifest found that more people 55 years old and above were very uncomfortable with air travel than people 18-34 years old in both May (59% vs. 45%) and July (56% vs. 44%).

Conversely, Americans ages 18-34 are also more likely to be at least somewhat comfortable with the idea of plane travel than those 55 and older.

You can read the full report here