Airlines revenues up, bookings down as holidays approach

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Delta planes sit idle at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport in St. Louis on Sunday, December 26, 2021. Delta said it is expecting more than six million passengers over the Thanksgiving holidays. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 10 (UPI) — Airlines revenues going into the busy holiday season are up 3% despite bookings being down 7% from this same time last year.

Inflation and a surge in fuel costs have led a sharp rise in airfares as the airline industry continued to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Airfares were still up nearly 43% in October from at the same point last year.

“The slower bookings growth indicates that some consumers may be waiting to see if prices come down materially, while others may pursue alternate forms of travel, such as by car or train,” Adobe said in its report that examined online bookings of six of the 10 largest U.S. carriers.

Air travelers have forked over $76 billion on flights online this year, up 17% from 2019, Adobe said. Bookings, though, increased by 5%.

Delta, one of the nation’s largest carriers, said it is anticipating that nearly 6 million travelers will walk through their gates from Nov. 18-29, averaging about 500,000 passengers a day.

The carrier said the peak will come the Friday before Thanksgiving on Nov. 18 and the Sunday following the holiday on Nov. 27.

“This year’s estimate falls just shy of the 6.3 million customers who traveled during the same period in 2019,” Delta said in a statement. “Over the past several months, Delta has taken meaningful and significant steps to stabilize the operation and provide its customers with the premium experience they expect.

“These decisions include right-sizing the airline’s schedule, adding buffer time in crew scheduling, increasing boarding time, and focusing on hiring and training Delta’s workforce. These measures continue to have a positive and direct impact on Delta’s operation and will ensure are liable holiday travel experience.”

Delta said it has completed more than 99% of scheduled flights during the fall.

“The holidays are all about connecting with loved ones, and after two years of disruption and unknowns, those connections are more important than ever,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

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