A new national survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) shows that many Americans are not expected to travel this holiday seasons. Results show that 72% of Americans are unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% are unlikely to travel for Christmas, compounding the challenges for the hotel industry during this public health crisis.

Among the findings, 21% of Americans say they are likely to travel for Thanksgiving, 24% are likely to travel for Christmas.

“This holiday season will be an especially difficult time for all Americans, and our industry is no exception” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “Fewer people will be traveling, and business travel remains nearly non-existent. That’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass a relief bill now. Millions of Americans are out of work, and thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. We cannot afford to wait until the next Congress is sworn in for relief. They need help now.”

This week, Gov. Phil Murphy advised individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of Maine and New Hampshire, bringing the total to 45 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

States and territory on the travel advisory include: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; West Virginia; Washington; and Wyoming.

“As we battle a second wave of COVID-19, stopping the spread of this deadly virus could not be more important.” said Governor Murphy. “It remains our top priority to ensure the safety of New Jersey residents, and we ask individuals arriving from these 45 states to get tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantine for 14 days.”

United Airlines expects the week of November 23 will be its busiest since March as customers travel to visit friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, United is anticipating approximately 50% of United customers flying for Thanksgiving are booking travel less than 30 days prior to departure compared to last year when around 40% of Thanksgiving travelers booked less than 30 days before departure. To help customers reconnect with loved ones this holiday season, United is adding more than 1,400 domestic flights during the week of Thanksgiving and is monitoring bookings in real-time to swap in larger aircraft when needed to accommodate last-minute demand.

“We know that for many customers, this holiday season may be their first time back on a plane since the start of the pandemic, and we’re committed to helping provide flexibility and a safer, clean, travel experience,” said Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president of Network Planning and Scheduling. “While this holiday travel season looks quite different than recent years, we’re continuing to follow the same playbook we have all year long – watching the data and adding more flights, adjusting schedules and leveraging larger aircraft to give customers more ways to reunite with family or reach their destinations.”

In December, the airline expects to see a similar travel pattern with customers booking holiday vacations closer to departure opting for warmer weather and ski destinations in the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico. Popular destinations include cities in Florida, Hawaii, Colorado, Montana, Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. United expects to fly 48% of its overall schedule in December compared to 2019, adding more than 140 daily flights and increasing capacity on more than 350 routes.

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use. The latest research demonstrates that United’s aircraft are among the safest of public indoor environments. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) revealed the risk of COVID-19 exposure on board aircraft is almost zero due to United’s advanced air filtration systems, required mask-wearing and the airline’s diligent cleaning protocols.

Since the start of the pandemic, United has enacted new policies and innovations designed to keep employees and passengers safer when traveling. It was the first U.S. airline to mandate masks for flight attendants, quickly following with customers and employees.

As the holiday season approaches, many Americans are making plans to see loved ones and are beginning to seek-out travel solutions for Thanksgiving. Skyscanner has used its unique position of data and expertise to provide predictions around what travelers can expect when journeying by air this Thanksgiving.

-In 2019, 61% of Thanksgiving travelers booked with six or less weeks before departure
-Skyscanner data predicts that the busiest day for travel for Thanksgiving 2020 will be Wednesday November 25th
-The top three booked destinations for Thanksgiving 2020 include New York, Cancun and Orlando

Mark Crossey, US Travel Expert for Skyscanner said, “November is traditionally the busiest month for travel in the US, and although we won’t see the passenger volumes we saw last year or the year before, we do expect it to be busier than usual. Searches and bookings are increasing weekly and we see high-intent to travel around the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Mexico has been a very popular destination for travelers since restrictions have been lifted. We have also seen our users searching, planning and booking travel to winter sun destinations such as Florida. With airlines offering protected fares and prices remaining extremely competitive, there are some fantastic deals to be had that won’t leave vacationers out of pocket should the booking be affected by changing restrictions. We have introduced icons and filters to ensure that travel options covered by flexible policies are highlighted, as well as providing safety and hygiene ratings for airlines to ensure that travelers can book with more peace of mind.”

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