I don’t think business travel will come back in full, because we’re learning that some meetings really can happen by videoconferencing. And it’ll take awhile for a lot of business travel to return. Large conferences and trade shows won’t be back this year and maybe not even next year.
I also think that travel beyond international borders will be cumbersome for some time as countries try to protect themselves from travelers who might carry a virus.
Domestic travel, not just in the U.S. but elsewhere, should come back faster. It won’t come back right away. Some areas will recover from the coronavirus faster than others, and that’ll limit travel – areas to stay away from (that are still infected) and potentially orders to quarantine people (coming from areas with infections). We’ve already had Texas state troops on the border with Louisiana and police searching for New York license plates in Rhode Island.
Still, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary makes the case that travel within Europe will rebound quickly this summer, and his arguments may apply to the United States just as well.
Ryanair assumes European flights will stay grounded until a “limited” resumption in June, O’Leary said. After that, a resurgence of intra-European travel will be driven by steep discounts on last-minute holidays in July-August.
“Lots of people across northern Europe have been locked up in apartments,” he said. “They will all want to go on holiday before the kids go back to school as long as they can do so in reasonable safety.”
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With proper protocols in place, like empty middle seats for social distancing, masks, and extensive cleaning a strong number of customers will return to the skies, O’Leary things – because the price of air travel is going down faster than self respect at a White House press briefing.
O’Leary says “The minute we’re about to start flying again we’ll start doing seat sales, and so will every other airline.” Cheap oil will even make it possible for airlines to make money at rock bottom prices, he says. Of course O’Leary’s answer to everything is a discount, which he says is necessary to get people to fly the 737 MAX.
In this case he can get media by spouting off about the future and coronavirus (like I do!), and doesn’t need to make noise about charging to use lavatories as he often does when ignored by the media for awhile.