As the summer season approaches and the number of vaccinated Americans grows, travel is expected to rise. According to the TSA, April 2021 was the first month since the pandemic started that saw over one million travelers per day. Although you might need a negative Covid-19 test to travel, more states are opening up, giving business people the chance to change their scenery.
However, the pandemic is not over, and there are still things to prepare for when traveling, like mask mandates and social distancing. While Zoom meetings might not be over and done with just yet, there are signs that things are moving forward. Even if you aren't traveling for business just yet, here are some recent happenings that show how business travel may be moving forward once again.
New airlines and new options
Given that we are recovering from a global pandemic and economic instability, some of the most exciting and surprising news is that new airlines and new options are being added for the coming months.
For instance, a new mainline American airline (the first in 15 years!) just launched its inaugural flight. Avelo Airlines is based out of Burbank, California, and covers smaller airports in the western United States, with flights as low as $19. Additionally, checked bags are only $10.
Another new airline that is expected to start operating in spring 2021 is Breeze Airways. Founded by David Neeleman, also the JetBlue founder, Breeze will work in the southeast and northeast United States.
Other airlines have announced that they are adding more routes to their services. Delta, Southwest, American, United, Frontier, and Sun Country are just some carriers that have announced expansions and more non-stop flights to their routes. Additionally, United, Delta, and American are looking to hire more pilots to help meet demand.
Those looking for upgraded business travel may be excited about JetBlue's latest offering, the redesigned JetBlue Mint. These spacious suites include sliding doors, lie-back seats, and customizable lighting. The Mint Studio comes with the biggest bed and television screen available on a U.S. airline, a vanity, and a guest seat and table to work to allow collaboration. Mint Class is available on select routes, including JFK-LAX (beginning June 2021).
In addition to these new routes and airlines, we may see the return of some familiar airlines that have limited routes. Recently, the U.K.-based Virgin Atlantic stated that they have hopes for a travel corridor between the U.S. and the U.K. Other groups in both the United States and the United Kingdom have also voiced their support for this corridor.
Destinations are opening-up
While many destinations are still closed off for non-essential travel, many are opening up or are planning to do so in the coming weeks, so long as coronavirus cases continue to decline. The European Union officially announced that they recommend easing some travel restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated usually means it has been 14 days after receiving the final dosage of the vaccine.
Note that the TSA's federal mask mandate has been extended until at least Sept. 13, 2021. It was previously set to expire on May 11, 2021.
Hotel prices (and promotions) on the rise
The price of staying in a hotel has been surging, with some even higher than they were before the pandemic due to rising demand (note that these tend to be located near beaches and national parks). Hotels are also believed to be seeing an increase in demand due to the higher confidence levels of cleanliness and uniform standards major hotels are expected to adhere to.
Additionally, many hotels and resorts are building their offers towards business travelers who might enjoy a "workcation."
For instance, Hyatt has special offers to rent a room for one day, stay for 5+ days, or stay 29+ days at eligible locations worldwide. Marriott has similar options for daily and longer passes, including stays at resorts. Both IHG and Hilton offer guests to earn more points on their holidays, plus there are enhanced welcome bonuses for new credit cardmembers.
Car rental shortage
The cost of renting a car has also risen due to a rental car shortage. Due to a significant decrease in travel in 2020, many car rental agencies sold some of their fleet.
While we might not be entirely back to pre-pandemic days, several happenings show we might get there sooner rather than later. To further show that the industry is moving forward, the CDC also indicated that cruises might resume, under certain conditions. If traveling, be sure to follow local guidelines and check for cancelation policies, just in case.