Continued worries about the Delta variant are derailing fall travel plans.
Driving the news: Thanksgiving domestic flight bookings in August were 18% lower this year compared with 2019, according to a new Adobe Digital Economy Index report out Monday morning.
Why it matters: Spring hopes that air travel would pick up later in the year, providing much-needed relief to a battered industry, have been dashed.
The big picture: Domestic flight demand is still far off pre-pandemic levels.
- Online bookings last month reached $4 billion, a decline of 35% from pre-pandemic levels in August 2019 and 24% from this July.
- Year-to-date through August, total domestic bookings represent $38 billion, down 30% from the same time period in 2019.
What they’re saying: When flight bookings for November and December were up 9% and 17% in March versus March 2019, it was a promising signal, says Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.
- But consumers became more cautious as the Delta variant spread. The bulk of bookings happens three to four months before peak periods, so August is beginning to show a better picture of what the rest of the year might look like, Pandya adds.
The bottom line: The economy’s recovery has been uneven and is still dependent on solving the health crisis.