Omicron spreads uncertainty about holiday travel and dampens recovery for airlines

Sharing an expert from an NPR article.

Pam and Barry Van Dyck have been dreaming of leaving behind the snow in Grand Rapids, Mich., and going someplace warm and adventurous for their 50th wedding anniversary, “with zip-lining, snorkeling, rivers in caves, amphibious vehicles and waterslides,” Pam Van Dyck says.

It’s 51 years now, because the Van Dycks initially planned the anniversary trip to Mexico for last December but postponed it amid a surge in COVID-19 cases at a time when vaccines were not yet widely available. Now, they’re not entirely sure they can take the rescheduled trip this month.

“Our biggest concern, of course, is what’s happening now with the new variant, and it’s just getting a little risky. I not ready [yet] to cancel or postpone,” Pam Van Dyck says.

The discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in at least a third of U.S. states is raising questions about whether it will be safe to travel for the upcoming holidays, with Christmas now less than three weeks away.

Citing the World Health Organization’s advisory warning that “blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread” of the coronavirus, “and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” the airline and travel industries are urging governments worldwide to reverse the most severe travel restrictions that have already been put into place.