Beijing Flight Bookings Surge 15 Times After Relaxed Restrictions — Sign Of Things To Come?
China’s capital Beijing was placed under heavy restrictions during the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China. Now as restrictions are loosened, the city is seeing a resurgence in airline bookings. The surge in bookings shows people are ready to get out and about after many weeks of quarantine. Is this a good sign of things to come for the rest of the world?
Up until Wednesday, travelers to Beijing were required to quarantine for 14 days. That restriction obviously kept many people from traveling to and from the capital city. But on Thursday, that restriction was lifted. The relaxed restriction comes right before Friday’s May Day holiday celebrations — China’s Labor Day.
According to Reuters:
The Labour Day holiday is China’s first extended break since the easing of coronavirus lockdowns, offering a glimpse of what travel may look like after the epidemic. The number of daily flights in China is at 42% of pre-epidemic levels.
Data from online reservation service Qunar.com showed air bookings out of Beijing jumped by 15 times in the first half hour after news of the end of restrictions on Wednesday.
Of course, this is just one city and one data point. But might it help allay at least some of the concerns that people in the U.S. will be hesitant to travel again? A recent survey found that millennials are more likely to travel domestically when stay-at-home orders end. Another study found most Americans uncomfortable with the thought of getting on a plane any time soon.
Perhaps, this is a sign Americans antsy to get out will do just that once restrictions are lifted. It’s hard to predict, but China may show some people’s initial reaction when some semblance of normal begins to return.
Again, I don’t want to link what’s happening with the Beijing market as exactly what will happen here in the U.S. I do think it’s a positive sign. I believe there will be a segment of the U.S. population that reacts similarly. That will be even more likely if a price war for domestic airline tickets coincides with loosening restrictions. For the sake of the economy, a similar resurgence is important to the U.S. travel industry. But of course, there is no way to tell when restrictions will loosen for most of the country.
So as Beijing flight bookings surge, I’m hopeful that maybe this is a sign of things to come. It won’t get us back to normal, but it might give us a semblance of normal.