Routes Reconnected: Airline passengers looking for clarity about lockdown, quarantine rules

Passengers want to travel but are wary of booking flights without knowing what happens if a COVID-19 lockdown is implemented at their destination, easyJet Holidays CEO says.

Airline passengers are looking for more certainty when it comes to rules regarding COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines and are wary to book flight tickets without assurances that their trip will not be abruptly canceled. 

Speaking at the virtual Routes Reconnected 2020 conference, easyJet Holidays CEO Garry Wilson and Visit Sweden brand & strategic relations officer Michael Persson Gripkow said destinations and countries need to be clear about the rules regarding lockdowns and quarantines to assuage travelers' concerns. 

“There is a huge spike in demand when lockdowns are lifted,” Wilson said. “There is absolute pent-up demand. Customers are not scared to travel, but they want certainty” regarding the destination to which they are traveling. 

Gripkow added: “You have to ensure you have a very clear communication to [passengers] about what the rules are and what’s expected of them [while flying].”

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“There has to be flexibility when it comes to booking terms. People want to travel safely and they want to know what happens when there is a lockdown.” 

Wilson noted that the travel sector is characterized by “bumps in the road” and said “we’re resilient,” but there remains a lack of clarity over how the COVID-19 crisis will end. “What’s absolutely true is none of us knows when [passenger traffic] is going to come back,” he said. “We should see the demand patterns start to take shape over the coming months. Leisure travel is always the first sector to come back [after a crisis]. European [leisure] travel will come back before leisure long-haul travel.” 

Gripkow agreed. “We really see the closer markets and domestic travel increasing” before long-haul travel comes back, he said. 

Photo credit: Joe Pries