Consumers share their thoughts on travel at USTOA's 'kitchen table'

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Four consumers from the New York metro area joined USTOA CEO Terry Dale, left, at a "kitchen table" session during the association's virtual conference.
Four consumers from the New York metro area joined USTOA CEO Terry Dale, left, at a "kitchen table" session during the association's virtual conference.

Pandemic-weary travelers are eager to get back on the road but remain leery of planes and trains and aren't necessarily in a rush to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

That was the feedback from four consumers who were invited to a "kitchen table" discussion with USTOA president and CEO Terry Dale on Tuesday as part of the group's annual conference, held virtually this year.

Travel bookings are on the rise, and USTOA members are confident about a travel recovery in 2021.

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Of the four participants, all of whom are from the New York metropolitan area, two said they had traveled since the start of the pandemic, and only one had been on a plane.

"I was not super-comfortable taking the airplane, but I double-masked and sprayed alcohol everywhere and tried not to touch anything," said Erika Dilday of New York City.

Others said they would feel safe in airports and hotels but still wouldn't be comfortable on planes or trains without some guaranteed social distancing.

And while all four said they expect vaccines to make it safer to resume travel, not all anticipate rushing to get one.

"I wouldn't want to take it right away, just in case the trials have been rushed," said Hannah Ment of Connecticut. "I think I would want to see how it sort of does in the real world. Even though I am not doubting these scientists  I don't think I would want to be the first in line for it."

Fida Abdallah of New York City agreed, noting, though, that having a vaccine would make her feel safer about traveling.

"I think I'd want to wait a little bit and see," she said.  "I don't mean like waiting a year, just a few months to see if the efficacy has changed."

Joel Rosenbluth, on the other hand, said he "is really pinning my hopes on the success and speed with which the vaccines start rolling out."

Rosenbluth, also from New York City, said he hopes to get back on the road in February with a trip to the Caribbean.

"I am hopeful, which is why I made the reservation," he said.

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