Flight prices rise as air travel in the United States approaches pre-pandemic levels

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Top line

As airlines prepare for an intense holiday season, air fares are gaining altitude and rising to pre-pandemic levels, according to Adobe’s digital economy index, an encouraging sign for the pandemic. harassed industry amid growing demand from American summer vacationers.

Flight prices increase as travel demand increases.

 Key factors

Domestic flight prices in October were just 7% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels, according to Adobe, which tracks the transactions of six of the top ten U.S. airlines.

Costs have risen relative to flight prices in August and September, which were 11% and 13% below 2019 levels, respectively.

Despite rising demand (bookings in September and October were only 13% and 10% below the same period in 2019), lower ticket prices kept revenue based, he found Adobe, which generated $ 4.2 billion in online spending in September and $ 4.8 billion in October, down 35%. and 28% over the same period in 2019, respectively.

Lower air fares were due in part to major discounts from airlines, according to Adobe, and prices had dropped significantly as the delta coronavirus variant broke across the country.

The busy holiday season is also raising prices online, according to Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst Vivek Pandya, who said consumers would be cautious to “start thinking about Christmas travel soon.”

Reservations for this year’s Thanksgiving flights, defined as a landing between Nov. 20 and 25, are well on their way to reaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to Adobe, and have increased a 78% from that point in 2020 and 3.2% above 2019 (on November 7, most Thanksgiving tickets are usually booked).

Key background

After advising Americans to stay home during the 2020 holidays, public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci have given their approval for people to “enjoy the holidays” with family and friends. Adobe data, in addition to AAA projections, indicate that many Americans have taken this into account, and the total number of travelers by car or plane is expected to be just below levels. prior to the pandemic. The resurgence of holiday travel follows a broader recovery in the industry, with recently reopened international travel driving domestic gains. Overall, the sector was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic and the United Nations estimates the crash could cost the global economy more than $ 4 trillion in 2020 and 2021.

What to watch out for

Rising fuel prices for aircraft could further raise air fares, according to industry executives.

Big Number

53.4 million. This is how many Americans will likely travel between Wednesday, November 24 and Sunday, November 28, according to the AAA. The forecast is higher than the 47.1 million who traveled during the Thanksgiving holiday last year and only 5% less than the number of travelers in 2019.

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