Industry Update
External Article15 May 2020

How expensive will air travel be after the COVID-19 crisis?

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(CNN) — When the state of Florida began enacting stay-at-home measures and closing beaches in mid-March, in response to the threat of COVID-19, Miami-based real estate agent and artist Nadia Bouzid was in the middle of painting a mural inside a new hotel in Cancun, Mexico.


Putting down the paintbrush, she picked up her phone and began searching airfares to return home.

"I watched a seat on the flight I wanted go from $200 to $70, to $350," Bouzid tells CNN Travel. "I booked it and flew, but the flight was spookily empty. I was panicking, and the changing price made me wonder how much I'd be paying to return to finish my work, when all this is over."

As countries formulate plans towards reopening borders and businesses, and airlines begin to see a return of passenger traffic, Bouzid's question is pertinent. What will airfares be like, when "all this" is over?

Social distancing means fewer seats sold, so will airfares go higher?

Delta Air Lines is blocking middle seats and capping flight loads through June 30 for social distancing, allowing only 50 to 60% of available seats on a flight to be booked. Other airlines adopting similar controls include Emirates, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, United, Wizz Air and more.

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