Travel Industry Bracing For Coronavirus' Impact

The travel industry expects to lose billions of dollars from the coronavirus pandemic.

Travel Industry Bracing For Coronavirus' Impact
Megan Smith / Newsy

Passengers catching flights are taking steps not to catch coronavirus. 

"I did wear a mask, I did bring wipes," said Madelyn Pietrucho after landing on a flight into Washington Reagan National Airport. "I'm older, so I've got to be cautious."

Planes are not as full, but there have been no major flight delays or cancellations within the U.S. But the system is under stress. Travel booking website Expedia says it's facing an extreme number of calls. 

The major airlines say they've already seen a decline in demand. Delta announced up to a 25% cut in international flights and a hiring freeze. The U.S. Travel Association is calling on Congress to help, saying President Trump's restrictions on flights from Europe will cost billions of dollars and affect an estimated 850,000 international visitors. 

As the disease spreads, the president says it's possible there will be rules on travel within the U.S. 

"We haven't discussed that yet," the president said. "Is it a possibility? Yes, if somebody gets a little bit out of control, if an area gets too hot."

Airlines are waiving change fees so people will rebook future travel without worrying about a hefty price to cancel. 

Passengers already on trips are hopeful they don't get stuck.

"This is a business trip," passenger Mark Moore said. "I wouldn't be traveling for pleasure right now."