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Surveys Provide Insight Into Continuing Confusion & Uncertainty About The Health Risks Of Flying

Despite efforts by U.S. airlines, both individually and through their various trade organizations, to convince travelers that they’re extremely unlikely either to catch or transmit coronavirus while aboard commercial flights, 42% of U.S. air travelers say that’s still their biggest concern about getting on a flight.

Concerns about the safety and cleanliness of public transportation facilities and vehicles, and fears about mixing with crowds in airports and other transport hubs like bus, subway or train stations rank second (39%) and third (34%), respectively among U.S. travelers’ concerns when it comes to traveling during the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s according to a new survey out today from Amadeus. Based in Spain, Amadeus is one of the world’s largest online travel selling platforms and provider of technology to airlines, hotels and other travel companies.

But in a series of reports out today under the broad Title of the “Rethink Travel Global Survey,” Amadeus noted that “different kinds of travelers are concerned about different things.” The reports are based on surveys of actual travelers done in mid-September in six nations.

For example, more U.S. respondents to Amadeus’s survey who had traveled on a long haul flights in the previous 18 months were concerned about government-imposed quarantines at their destinations or upon their return home vs. those who had traveled only on short haul flights in the previous 18 months. While 32% of those who’d traveled on long haul flights listed such restrictions on their free movement as a top concern, only 25% of those who’d flown only on short haul flights in that period listed such potential restrictions among their top concerns about travel currently.

Business travelers generally are less concerned about virus transmission than leisure travelers, with 25% who had traveled only for business in the past 18 months registering catching or transmitting the virus as one of their biggest concerns, vs. 48% of those who’d travel only for leisure in the preceding 18 months who said that was one of their biggest concerns However, more business travelers – 18% – listed having access to information on which destinations are safe to visit as a major concern than did leisure travelers – just 11% Members of Generation X (ages 40-54) were more likely to express concern around having to wear masks for a long period of time – 39% – and about government-imposed quarantines at their destination or upon return home – 33% Baby Boomers (ages 55-74) were, by far, the most concerned – 75% – about a perceived increased risk of catching or transmitting the Covid-19 virus Concern over social distancing on planes rises steadily with age from 17% for Generation Z (ages 8 to 23) to 46% for Baby Boomers Overall, only 28% of U.S. survey respondents identified contact-reducing technological solutions such as contactless payment, check-in and bag-check processes as conditions that they would need in order to feel safe traveling Among those who travel only or mainly for business, the felt need for such technology-enabled services was even lower. Just 22% of those people said contactless services were important to them being comfortable enough to travel Business travelers, however, favored facial recognition- 30% – and voice recognition – 26% – systems as technologies that would increase their confidence in travel over the next 12 months U.S. travelers in general most want new technologies that will reduce the length and time of the queues they stand in and the congestion they experience in public spaces – 33% – to protect their financial data and personal information  – 32% – and to minimize their face-to-face or physical contact with others – 31%
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