Can You start making Travel Plans and book Airline Tickets Now?

By Sumanth Bharadwaj | April 6, 2020

The world has seen unprecedented travel restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19. Due to these restrictions travel plans and flight ticket bookings have been affected vastly. Many countries have enforced total lockdown forcing citizens to stay within the boundary of their house. Most restrictions are coming to an end soon due to flattening of COVID-19 spread curve, except in a few countries. Can you already start making your much-awaited travel plans and book airline tickets?

Airlines around the globe have cancelled much of its operations due to COVID-19 bringing the aviation market to a halt. The government enforced lockdown is also ceasing mid to end of April in a few countries.

Have airlines resumed flight bookings?

The travel restrictions in India are coming to an end on 14th April.

IndiGo A320s parked at IGIA, Delhi

The government took into consideration post lockdown measures and has allowed airlines to resume flight ticket bookings.

Although there is no clear message from the government if the lockdown would be lifted or extended, the Civil Aviation Minister has confirmed in a tweet that they would consider airlines resuming operations in a staggered manner. Air India, however, has taken a decision to not restart operations until 30th April.

After three months of hunkered down at home, Chinese travellers have begun travelling due to a long weekend as part of Ching Ming festival. The flight bookings were up 50% over the three day weekend boosting revenues of beleaguered hotels and airlines. However, China’s aviation regulation CAAC has taken a decision on 27th March to allow airlines to fly only a single route and one flight a week to one country. The number of imported coronavirus cases is on a rise in China and the growth of local cases is slowing down.

Emirates will start operating from 6th April to select destinations. ©Flickr

Airlines in the UAE have started taking flight bookings to select destinations. Emirates and Etihad received granted government approval to operate passenger flights to certain destinations from 6th April. Only passengers to travel out of UAE are allowed to book now. For more information click here.

Turkish Airlines, however, have cancelled international flights until 30th May and domestic flights until 20th April.

Turkish Airlines website displaying information on cancellation of its flights

America and Europe – Bookings Open?

Many airlines in the United States are operating with limited capacity. They have made seating arrangements to restrict passengers from sitting closely to maintain social distancing. United Airlines said it could soon start operating flights to China. Since January, U.S. based carriers banned flying to China due to rapid increase of COVID-19 cases there. However, as businesses are returning to normal and demand is increasing it could restart operations very soon. For more updates on United Airlines resuming operations to China click here.

Carriers based in Europe are still reeling until restrictions. Air Europa, one of the largest airlines in Europe has cancelled operations until 30th April. There is no clarity on when operations would resume in Europe as the number of COVID-19 cases shows no sign of reduction.

As every country is fighting to eradicate COVID-19, governments are slowly but steadily making plans to bring back life to normalcy. Airlines have also been drawing plans to restart operations. Although restrictions are coming to an end in a few countries across Asia, it is not very clear if the lockdown would be extended or lifted. Carriers based in India have already started accepting bookings. But it is highly unlikely for the restrictions to be lifted if there is a surge in the number of cases again. It is a dicey situation currently to make travel plans and bookings.

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