International Recovery: Delta Air Lines Sees Bookings Quadruple

Airlines operating in the United States have been keeping a close eye on the calendar ahead of November 8th. On this date, the US will open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers, loosening stringent restrictions that essentially barred travel from several markets. With the grand reopening only a few days away, Delta Air Lines shared that it has seen its international point-of-sale bookings increase by 450%.

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Delta is gearing up for an optimistic period in international travel. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Global impact

The Atlanta-based carrier explains that this figure is based on the six weeks since the government’s announcement of relaxing restrictions compared with the six weeks prior. Altogether, several of the airline’s international flights are expected to be fully loaded on Monday. This trend of high load factors is expected to continue in subsequent weeks.

Delta adds that 33 nations will feel a positive impact amid the change in requirements. Notably, the carrier serves 10 of these countries nonstop and holds a connection with several more due to its valuable airline partnerships.

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Delta will be looking to make the most out of its partnerships, including the benefits of its SkyTeam membership and joint venture with Virgin Atlantic, Air France, and KLM. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Fresh start

The first Delta service to land in the US after the new rules go into effect is Flight DL106 from Sao Paulo to Atlanta. The airline is excited about getting the ball rolling in this next chapter.

“This is the start of a new era for travel and for many people around the world who have not been able to see loved ones for almost two years,” shared  Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian in a company statement.

“While we have seen many countries reopen their borders to American visitors over the summer, our international customers have not been able to fly with us or visit the U.S. All of that changes now. We’re grateful to the U.S. government for lifting travel restrictions and are looking forward to reuniting families, friends and colleagues over the coming days and weeks.” 

While this first flight is heading in from Brazil, a significant portion of the action will be from across the Atlantic. Carriers on both sides of the pond have seen a boost in bookings over the last six weeks.

Last week, United Airlines’ management told Simple Flying that transatlantic bookings have been rising by almost right angles. With this momentum, the Chicago-based operator announced that it is launching five new flights from London Heathrow.

Aer Lingus is reporting similar progress. The flag carrier of Ireland this week shared that it has sold all its seats on flights to the United States departing on Monday. This update follows the fact that fellow IAG outfit British Airways saw a 700% increase in flight searches for the US hours after the government announcement was made in September.

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The operator will be looking forward to sending its Boeing 767, Airbus A330, and Airbus A350 widebodies on more long-haul missions. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Lucrative routes

Overall, the United States is a vital international aviation market. The country had had over 4.5 million yearly visitors from the United Kingdom between 2015 and 2019. However, this figure dropped to just around 700,000 in 2020 due to the restrictions placed in March that year.

Across the industry, the US had over 70 million visitors every year since 2013. This number dropped to under 20 million last year. Delta recognizes the importance of air travel from overseas, noting that inbound activity contributed $234 billion in export income to the US economy and directly supported 1.2 million jobs in the country in 2019.

The carrier has already witnessed a comeback in the domestic realm, with 2019 passenger levels being recorded. The long-haul scene is expected to take far longer to recover, but Monday’s reopening is a step in the right direction.

What are your thoughts about the surge in bookings to the United States ahead of Monday’s reopening? Are you looking to travel to the US soon? Let us know what you think of the overall situation in the comment section.