The cabin of a Southwest Boeing 737 MAX 8. (photo courtesy of Ashlee Duncan Smith/Southwest Airlines)
New data from the Adobe Digital Economy Index, which analyzes data from six of the top ten airlines in the country and over 150 billion web visits, has found that February’s domestic flight bookings have now exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
Americans spent $6.6 billion in online domestic flight booking in February alone, six percent above the same time in 2019. It’s also an 18 percent increase from January 2022 and exceeds both December and November demand.
Overall, Americans spent $56 billion on online domestic flights in 2021, still 26 percent lower than the 2019 level that is now taken as a pre-pandemic average.
While the signs for this year are promising, prices for flights are rising, too. This past February, prices for flights were five percent above 2019’s prices, even though January 2022 saw a three percent decrease in prices lower than pre-pandemic levels. Inflation continues to be a main factor in how much people are spending. While revenue is up six percent from pre-pandemic levels, actual bookings are only up four percent from 2019.
While bookings for Memorial Day weekend are down 18 percent from 2019, summer travel is currently down three percent from 2019, indicating that more people prefer traveling further out.
“The Adobe Digital Economy Index has been monitoring the airline recovery on a weekly basis, and in the second week of February 2022, we saw domestic bookings and revenue surpass 2019 levels for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. “This is a major turning point, and it shows a level of consumer confidence we’ve not seen in many months.”
The data also found the most popular destination for those traveling this month through May. Belgrade, Montana; Fort Myers, Florida; Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; Palm Springs, California; Kahalui, Hawaii; Orlando, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Lihue, Hawaii; Pensacola, Florida; and Honolulu, Hawaii experienced the greatest surge in bookings.