The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the worst events in modern history. Between the high death toll and the negative economic ramifications, it is clear that the pandemic has wreaked havoc. One industry that has been hit particularly hard is the airline industry. When the pandemic began, fears of flying and being trapped in a plane with a potentially fatal virus caused many people to avoid planes. As the pandemic continues, these fears have only amplified, and airline industries are bearing the cost in the form of lower revenues.
The difficulty the airline industry has faced has led to heightened competition between companies. In an attempt to attract more customers, airlines have taken to augmenting their policies. One such company that has implemented changes is United Airlines. They have permanently eliminated the $200 fee for changing domestic flights.
In a statement from the company, they stated “following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service. United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook as we come out of the crisis. Instead we’re taking a completely different approach—and looking at new ways to serve our customers better.”
The decision to eliminate the penalty fee has already been in place in their key competitor, Southwest Airlines, for quite some time. But the company hopes that their change will generate greater sales.
Presently, the airline industry is suffering immensely. Summer is typically the peak travel season for individuals, yet according to the Transportation and Security Administration, screening levels for flights are approximately 30 percent of what they were this time last year. This statistic sheds light on how intensely airlines are suffering and makes clear how destructive the coronavirus pandemic has been.
The future of flying is thus in a peculiar situation. Will airlines increase their prices on base fares in order to generate more revenue? Or will they adopt lower prices in order to attract more customers. This question can only be answered once the pandemic has subsided and flying patterns return to normal.
Moreover, the question of whether other airlines will adopt policy changes to beat out the competition is something to consider. In summation, the coronavirus pandemic has been a nightmare for the economy, and airlines will likely continue to feel the effects of diminished plane usage for the foreseeable future. It will take time before industries will recover from the pandemic.