Delta Air Lines recorded the single busiest day for new bookings in its history last week despite the lingering effects of the pandemic and the prospect of a major conflict across Europe, its chief executive Ed Bastion announced during a conference hosted in London by its joint venture partner Virgin Atlantic.
The pandemic is effectively over for Delta Air flyers who are unleashing a pent up demand for air travel. They have been helped by governments around the world rolling back pandemic-era travel restrictions like vaccination requirements, pre-departure tests and self-isolation rules.
“People have decided to start traveling again,” Bastion said on Tuesday. “And in the last three weeks the governments of the world have decided it’s time to go, that the Covid era is over.”
“We’re moving into a period where we’re managing this virus, rather than being managed by it.”
Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, transatlantic bookings remain healthy after a slight dip just after President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine.
“We saw a momentary little blip for about a week when the war started, but demand is strong,” Bastion commented.
Even rising oil prices and the negative effect that will have on airfares don’t seem to be dampening the mood for travel. Premium leisure travel is performing well but even business travel is starting to bounce back in markets where restrictions are being lifted.
Bastion doesn’t think oil prices are a “point of nervousness” and believes demand is so strong that increased costs can be passed directly onto consumers.
Corporate bookings are up by around 60 per cent – led mostly by domestic business travel but businesses are taking a less risk-averse approach to international travel and allowing employees to once again travel overseas.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.