Photo Credit: Getty Images
Delta Variant Causing Significant Decrease In Air Ticket Sales In The U.S.
Now well over a year since the arrival of COVID-19, the frustration that comes with living in a borderline apocalyptic world couldn’t be more palpable. The vaccine brought some hope; restaurants, shops, and bars can function as usual, save for some necessary changes. But this major medical breakthrough aside, COVID-19, and now the contagious Delta variant, suck the joy out of everything we hold dear, including travel.
According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, travel “is the second most desired activity among respondents, following dining out,” which could be applied to many outside of the survey.
Travel Weekly notes there’s been a significant decrease in air tickets sold by U.S. travel agencies, as the Delta variant “weakens demand in the airline sector.” The publication states that “for the week that ended August 15, the number of air tickets sold by U.S. travel agencies was down 41.1% compared with 2019, the worst result since the week that ended May 16.”
Carriers such as Southwest Airlines “downgraded its August revenue forecast,” and lamented “a recent decline in close-in bookings and an increase in cancellations.” Frontier Airlines “blamed the virus for causing bookings to weaken more than the usual decline that occurs each year as summer winds down.”
Some airline analysts believe other carriers will minimize their revenue projections, “but probably not until early September.”
We’re living a nightmare without an end in sight, and once again, the travel world can’t help but take notice. To think we are completely out of the woods because there is a vaccine is a mistake, because COVID-19 and the Delta variant could set us back to square one, with possible shut-downs, quarantines, and border closures in the near future.
Coming off the heels of a long, miserable winter, it’s unsurprising that a travel boom was predicted this summer. The thrill of the staycation was long dead, and people were stir crazy from having to hunker down at home for so long.
Americans in particular were desperate to go anywhere beyond their homes as soon as possible, and travel agents did their best to meet the demand, while trying to keep track of the constantly moving pieces. People seized the chance to hop on a plane, even if there were more steps and rules involved than there would typically be.
The Delta variant adds an air of uncertainty to already uncertain times, and people have been encouraged by the CDC and similar organizations to wear masks to lessen the spread. But as we move into fall, exasperated people may throw up their hands and decide it might be best to postpone air travel yet again.