Confidence about the course of the coronavirus pandemic has helped put passengers back on planes in recent months, and Thanksgiving week is shaping up to be one of the busiest periods for U.S. air travel since it came to a near-standstill in the spring. News that effective vaccines may be close at hand lifted airline stocks.
But new concerns over the spread of the virus are rattling travelers and threatening airlines’ hopes for the months ahead.
United Airlines said Thursday that bookings had slowed and cancellations had risen in recent days because of the surge in virus cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to avoid holiday travel altogether, presenting the industry with its latest wrenching question: How dark can this winter get?
“There’s two trains running toward us,” said John Grant, a senior analyst with OAG, an aviation data firm based near London. “One is full