The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted how comfortable Americans are traveling these days, especially if that trip involves a flight. In fact, a new survey shows that more than two-thirds of Americans these days are afraid to fly the friendly skies. Older Americans are particularly concerned when it comes to regions experiencing surges in cases.

According to a new survey from The Manifest, a business and news website, 67% of Americans are at least somewhat uncomfortable with flying in the next month, limiting summer travel possibilities.

The survey accounts for 351 Americans' comfort with travel in May 2020 and another 501 American opinions on travel during the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020. The same percentage of people (67%) said they were uncomfortable with air travel in May and July 2020.

Change of Travel Plans During COVID-19

Despite concerns about air travel as daily new cases surge, only 23% of people have fully canceled their 2020 travel plans. Instead, 32% of people in the U.S. are stopping additional travel planning while 15% are continuing to plan. This shows that people are still looking for ways to travel safely during the pandemic and are unwilling to completely write off travel plans.

Regional Hotspots Mean Travel Anxieties

Residents of regions that have seen more success with flattening the curve are more comfortable with air travel now than they were in May 2020. For example, the number people in the Northeast who were very uncomfortable with flying decreased from 67 to 51% from May to July.

  • The South and West, however, both experienced increases in travel discomfort from May to July 2020:
  • In the South, 58% of people were very uncomfortable with flying in July, compared to 48% in May.
  • In the West, 43% of people were very uncomfortable with flying in July, compared to 38% in May.

Conversely, residents of virus hotspots since May 2020 are less comfortable with flying in July 2020, mirroring spikes in positive coronavirus cases.

Demographics and Comfort Levels

COVID-19 hospitalization records show that older Americans are more vulnerable to severe cases of the virus. The Manifest found that more people 55 years old and above were very uncomfortable with air travel than people 18-34 years old in both May (59% vs. 45%) and July (56% vs. 44%). Conversely, Americans ages 18-34 are also more likely to be at least somewhat comfortable with the idea of plane travel than those 55 and older.

Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, the U.S. travel industry has tracked more than $273 billion in losses. New research, however, reveals that the travel economy has sustained continuous expansion for over two months.


The Manifest collected data regarding comfortability with travel from 351 Americans in May 2020.

  • 44% were female; 36% were male; 21% did not identify a gender.
  • 24% were ages 18-34; 36% were 35-54; 40% of respondents were 55 or older.
  • 20% were from the Midwest; 16% were from the Northeast; 42% were from the South; 22% were from the West.

Data was also collected on questions of people’s comfort with travel during coronavirus from 501 Americans in July 2020.

  • 44% were female; 42% were male; 14% chose not to identify themselves.
  • 27% were ages 18-34; 33% were 35-54; 39% of respondents were 55 or older.
  • 33% were from the Midwest; 11% were from the Northeast; 36% were from the South; 21% were from the West.