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23ABC In-Depth: The future of air travel - what to expect the next time you take to the skies

What will traveling in the U.S. soon look like?
Posted: 9:48 PM, May 05, 2021
Updated: 2021-05-06 10:10:06-04

(KERO) — As COVID cases and deaths are slowing down in America, more people are getting ready to pack their bags and get back to traveling.

Air travel has hit new pandemic records and the Transportation Security Administration said Sunday agents screened more than 1.6 million people at airports across the country. But this comes during a time where there is some confusion over the issue of travel now as the pandemic slows down in America.

According to the TSA, it recorded more than a million screenings every day for more than seven weeks straight.

The European Union will consider different plans to reopen non-essential travel from overseas. Plans are expected to require people to receive their last dose of the vaccine at least two weeks before traveling. How those people will prove they received their vaccination remains one of the details that need to be determined.

The European Union also announced plans to create a digital certificate, but until that happens, countries will likely allow people to show an authentic vaccination record. Children not allowed to receive the vaccine will need to show a negative COVID test.

Sharon Pinkerton who is the Senior Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Policy at Airlines for America spoke with 23ABC about what the future of flying looks like, what airlines are wanting when it comes to vaccine passports and where the airline industry was pre-pandemic versus where is it now in terms of jobs and customers traveling.

A look at the future of the airline industry

"With the vaccine, you should be able to travel, especially domestically. Now, international travel is still a question in the public health community, especially the e.u. Where you have countries like France, Spain, and Italy, which have vaccinated just 7% of its population." Dr. Imran Ali, Physician Fellow, Mt. Sinai Health

Rebecca Spicer, Senior Vice President of Communications at Airlines for America, discussed with 23ABC what travelers should expect when it comes to the price of airline tickets and protective safety measures airlines are taking.

What to expect the next time you travel

Don't forget to pack your mask if you're planning to travel. The TSA extended the federal requirement that travelers on buses, trains, commercial flights, and at airports continue to wear face masks. The requirement will now remain in effect through September 13. There are some exemptions for people with disabilities.

Airlines have banned more than 2,000 people for refusing to follow mask requirements. Fines for failing to follow the rules can range from $250 to $15,000.

For cruises, group vacations, and overseas trips, you may have to wait until 2022. But travel in America is quickly picking up.

Varinnia Colemere has been with Nervig Travel out of Panama City Florida for the last 30 years. She says tour operators in the U.S. are booming.

When it comes to national parks they actually had their best year last year and will continue to do so in 2021.

Hot spots she's booking for summer include, Florida, Wyoming to see Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, and South Dakota. In Helena, Montana, bookings are up 250% since 2019. Travel to Fairbanks, Alaska is up nearly 200% in the same time period.

Colemere says people want to visit states with the least restrictions. That's also driving up prices in hotels, Airbnbs, and rental cars. So be prepared to "spend" more and book farther out. She recommends 6 months in advance.

Tips for traveling

If you are planning to travel, try to limit the number of public touchpoints you might have.

For flights, this includes checking into your flight before you get to the airport and keeping your boarding passes on your phone.

For other travel, have a digital pass or wear gloves if you will be in contact with surfaces other people have touched.