The U.S. travel market is holding strong for now despite skyrocketing costs, flight cancellations, and growing recession concerns, according to OAG’s latest survey, https://finance.yahoo.com reports.
The report, carried out in April and May of 2022 via OAG’s flight tracking app, FlightView, offers timely insights on over 1,400 North American travelers who are eager to fly again following two years of COVID lockdowns, protocols, and restrictions.
Twenty-seven percent more people are traveling this summer compared to 2021. Of those traveling, 63% are booking international flights, and nearly 60% are planning to visit a destination they haven’t visited before. More than 50% are booking 2-6 months in advance and 11% are booking with lead times of 6 months or more.
In spite of rising inflation, respondents said $50 and $100 ticket price increases aren’t likely to discourage them from booking, but they are extremely less likely to book with $200 and $300+ increases (45% and 68% respectively). And once at the airport, flight delays, cancellations, and customer service issues rank among the biggest areas of impact for consumers (52% and 19% respectively).
U.S. business travel is also growing. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they have already traveled for business in 2022, up 51% from 2021. Ninety percent report that their company plans to travel in the next 12 months, while 50% say their travel plans will return to pre-pandemic levels or above in the next year.
“After lockdowns and restrictions, travelers just want to take their long-awaited holiday, even if it means higher fares, crowded airports, and service inconveniences due to shortage of staff,” said John Grant, chief analyst at OAG. “While inflation and concerns of a recession might impact the recovery in the second half of the year, market demand and scheduled capacity for the next three months is at its strongest since 2019.”
Other quick takeaways from OAG’s research include:
Better Data for Booking Options: The top improvements respondents want from online travel agencies (OTAs) and travel apps include better price predictability on when to book (59%) and real-time travel updates (53%).
Biometric Data: Fifty-nine percent of respondents are willing to share their biometric data (via facial recognition, fingerprint, retina scanning or otherwise) to get through security lines faster, including 56% who are willing to use biometrics to streamline customs and immigration.
Sustainability: Sixty-two percent of travelers said sustainability does not impact their travel decision-making. Nearly half of travelers admitted that they wouldn’t be willing to pay extra for a more sustainable flight.
Self-connecting Flights: Although the majority (69%) said they have not booked a self-connecting flight within the last 6 months, 50% said they want OTAs and apps to offer more non-traditional connecting flight options at better prices.