Home for the holidays? How new travel restrictions could impact Christmas
VANCOUVER -- After nine months of massive losses, Canada’s beleaguered airline industry was hopeful domestic holiday travel would provide a glimmer of hope.
“I think there was this idea that, ‘OK, I know I can’t travel internationally right now now, but I’m feeling relatively safe because COVID is reasonably under control in Canada.’ So we were seeing a lot of bookings to Ontario, and to Quebec, Calgary,” said Allison Wallace, director of media and communications for Flight Centre Canada.
But, with B.C. Premier John Horgan asking the Prime Minister to join him in urging all Canadians to stay in their home provinces, she says what happens next could have a big impact on whether people can go home for the holidays.
“If it’s mandated, that will have a huge effect. I think if it’s recommended it will still have a significant effect, but there will be people who will make choices,” said Wallace.
Because essential travel within Canada will still be allowed, she believes some British Columbians who’ve already made plans to fly to other provinces will stay the course.
“I think there are people that are saying listen, you know, to me it is considered essential because my parents are alone and I’m the only person they will have seen in 9 months,” she said.
Her advice for anyone who has already booked a domestic flight for the holiday period or is thinking of travelling?
“Wait and find out what exactly is going to happen,” Wallace said. “Is it going to be a mandated travel restriction? Is it going to be a travel recommendation? Understand what those rules are and then see what the options are that the airline is providing.”
With COVID-19 cases skyrocketing in many provinces, Wallace doubts the holiday season will be much of a boost for an industry brought to its knees by the pandemic.
“I think its just going to be another kick to the gut for 2020,” she said.