US flight bookings at 70% of pre-pandemic levels

Flight bookings to the US stand at more than 70% of pre-pandemic levels, according to research from Forward Keys.

Research from the ticketing data company shows the bookings at that level by ‘mid-October’, before the latest confirmation of entry rules last night but after the US’ November 8 reopening date was confirmed and a September 20 White House announcement on which countries’ visitors would be allowed entry.

Forward Keys said the September 20 announcement “caused an immediate reaction”, with week-on-week bookings from the UK jumping 83% while those from Brazil jumped 71% and bookings from the EU 185%.

After the second announcement, on October 15, week-on-week bookings jumped by a further 15% from the UK, 26% from the EU and 100% from Brazil.

There are “two clear peaks” of travel date for bookings from those three markets, according to Forward Keys data.

The first was for travel immediately after the November 8 relaxation of restrictions, which accounts for 15% of bookings; and the second over the festive period with 16% of bookings during Christmas week and 14% the week before.

Juan Gómez, head of market intelligence at ForwardKeys, said: “This data yet again demonstrates the enormous pent-up demand for travel.

“Immediately people heard that they would be allowed to visit the USA again; they booked; and a substantial proportion booked to fly as soon as they could.

“It is also interesting to note that bookings climbed higher once a specific date was given. That is not entirely surprising for two reasons. First, the certainty of a specific date inspires confidence. Second, those wanting to travel before the end of November could not afford to make a commitment until they knew for sure that they could travel when they wanted to.

“I am optimistic that in the coming weeks, we will see a steep increase in bookings to the USA for the Christmas period.”

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