As COVID-19 reshapes our economy, our newsletter will help you unpack the news from the day.
Travel industry grapples with cancellations, changes amid COVID-19 outbreak
Share Now on:
In response to the spread of COVID-19, Delta reduced service to South Korea last week, while United announced it’s limiting service to Japan, Singapore and Seoul, citing a 75% decline in demand for trans-Pacific routes. The International Air Transport Association took data from the SARS outbreak in 2003 and calculates the disease will cost the airline industry $30 billion.
Travel agent John Dekker at the Los Angeles-based Surf City Travel said he’s been tracking lost revenue from flight cancellations for about a week.
“We figured we’ve lost about $65,000 on commissions that we would have earned,” Dekker said. “For a smaller agency that we are, that’s a lot of money.”
If there are enough cancellations, airlines start reconsidering whether the cost of flying is worth it.
“If you don’t have passengers on that plane, if you don’t have cargo being shipped and the revenue coming in from that, it makes no sense to operate a flight,” said Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group.
Charles Leocha, president of Travelers United, said consumers can purchase travelers insurance, but many policies don’t cover epidemics.
“The No. 1 thing you have to do is read the policy,” Leocha said.
Insurance companies do offer cancel-for-any-reason plans, but, Leocha said, they’re often expensive.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.