Travel experts predict surge in road trips as major airlines warn thousands of layoffs

Road trips on the rise as airlines take more hits

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Wednesday, United Airlines announced it is sending layoff warnings to 36,000 employees after taking massive losses from the months-long COVID-19 pandemic. This number would include around 15,000 flight attendants, 5,500 maintenance workers and engineers, and 11,000 customer service agents.

The airline giant says it hopes to limit the number of layoffs by providing early retirement.

According to an official with the Richmond International Airport, before the COVID-19 pandemic, United typically had the third-largest market share among seven airlines at RIC and currently operates five arrivals and five departures to and from RIC daily adding that at this time they have no specific details about the local impact related to the layoffs.

Unless the airline industry sees massive improvement over the next month, United is expected to make those cuts at the beginning of October. United was one of many airline giants that got $25 billion in federal payroll support and aren’t allowed to layoff, furlough or cut pay rates of staff until October.

But while the future of airline travel is very much in the air, Martha Meade with AAA a says a classic vacation on the road may be making a comeback.

“The number one question we’re getting is where can we go in the United States and AAA really believes that this year starting now and growing in the future will be the resurgence of the great American road trip,” said Meade.

Meade says lack of consumer confidence for typical trips abroad and overseas are driving renewed interest in road trip vacations especially in an effort to avoid getting infected by COVID-19.

“People see cars as an extension of their homes a travel method that they feel they can control and people are also reconnecting with family and enjoying the great outdoors where social distancing is a little bit easier,” said Meade.

AAA recommends checking restrictions for states and/or areas of states you are traveling to or through and has an online COVID-19 Travel Restrictions map of the United States to help travelers keep track of the landscape of rules and regulations. The tool allows travelers to review the operational hours and protocols of destination attractions, rest stops, and more along your travel route. AAA says closures, stay-at-home orders and quarantine rules vary greatly across states, and even among various counties and cities within the states.

Meade adds that drivers wanting to take advantage of road trips this summer should get their vehicle checked by taking it to a trusted repair facility to perform maintenance such as the battery, tire, brake and fluid checks because many vehicles may have not been driven in months due to stay at home orders.

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