Travelers are feeling more comfortable these days as evidenced by new research from Expedia Group and the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC).
The latest outlook shows that travelers are leaning toward domestic travel in the short term and considering international travel further out on the horizon.
The data combined statistics from both Expedia Group’s air travel search data and ARC’s global airline sales data, and showed travelers’ plans for the holidays and beyond, top search destinations, search volume, search timeframes and ticket price trends.
The research showed that prices are down for air travel and business is picking up.
Airlines incurred losses in 2020, but financial performance is improving and passengers are returning. International Air Transport Association (IATA) data found that passenger numbers are expected to reach 2.3 billion in 2021 and grow to 3.4 billion in 2022, approaching 2014 passenger levels.
This is a good time for passengers to get a deal. U.S. ticket prices for economy and premium seats are still lower than they were prior to the pandemic with the average roundtrip flight in the U.S. costing $371. That is about $100 less than 2018 and 2019 averages, $459 and $467, respectively.
There is also a smaller gap between economy and premium seats. Overall in 2021, premium tickets were 288% more expensive than economy tickets, whereas in 2020 and 2019, premium tickets were 365 percent and 430 percent more expensive.
“The US airline industry was not immune to the devastating impacts of the pandemic on travel,” said Julie Kyse, Vice President, Global Air Partnerships with Expedia Group. “But due to the market’s resiliency, airlines’ investment into safety protocols and the widespread availability of vaccines, it looks like the turnaround will be swift, based on recent data. This bodes well for our airline partners and others operating in the wider ecosystem, particularly as the holiday travel season approaches.”
The research from Expedia and ARC also showed that, while travelers are traveling closer to home at the moment, they are looking abroad in 2022.
“It’s no secret that people are ready to travel again after more than a year of limitations, restrictions and isolation,” said Kyse. “As the airline industry continues its recovery, Expedia Group is committed to connecting our airline partners to primary areas of consumer demand so they are best positioned to provide the memorable experiences that travelers want.”
The readiness to travel abroad aligns with Expedia’s Traveler Value Index Report. That report revealed that more than half of travelers wanted new experiences and more than three-quarters were more likely to select a new destination for their next trip.
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