In this week’s air travel developments, flight bookings for spring and summer are booming, with February sales beating pre-pandemic levels as higher demand and fuel costs spur concerns about air fare increases; Delta plans Oakland-Atlanta flights this summer, Air Canada is coming to Sacramento, and Spirit will add service at Reno-Tahoe; American plans to resume in-flight alcohol sales next month; U.S. blocks United Express/SkyWest from dropping service to 29 cities; international news from Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Qantas, Delta, La Compagnie; U.K. airlines start to drop mask requirement for passengers; COVID-related entry restrictions are eased by the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, France; Delta says more than half of its domestic customers now have access to satellite Wi-Fi; San Francisco prepares for new landing technology that should improve on-time arrivals during bad weather.
A new study released this week found that flight bookings for spring are booming — a trend that several airline executives confirmed at an investment conference. The Adobe Digital Economy Index, which tracks online spending for airline tickets, reported that domestic flight bookings during February 2022 totaled $6.6 billion, a 6% improvement over February in the pre-pandemic year of 2019. During the second week of February, as COVID omicron cases were trending downward, domestic online ticket purchases showed an increase over 2019 for the first time. Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst Vivek Pandya said it was “a major turning point, and it shows a level of consumer confidence we’ve not seen in many months.” Adobe also reported on the top 10 U.S. destinations being booked for travel from March through May, a list that includes several traditional spring break favorites. No. 1 was Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana (gateway for Yellowstone National Park), followed by Fort Myers, Florida, Kona (on Hawaii’s Big Island), Pam Springs, Maui, Orlando, Tampa, Kauai, Pensacola and Honolulu. Although summer travel (June through August) is still months away, Adobe said, bookings at this point are only 3% below comparable 2019 levels — suggesting that it might be prudent to make summer reservations soon.