A new NerdWallet report says that 43% of Americans plan to travel during the holidays, a 24% increase over last year. Although travelers are spending travel reward points and looking for deals, they are expected to spend about $200 billion during the holidays.
As he prepares to transition to executive chairman next year, Southwest CEO and Airlines for America chairman of the board Gary Kelly shared his priorities for the carrier and the industry. "We're really focused on the moment here and dealing with the pandemic still and working very hard to get back to profitability," Kelly said. "We're very excited about our plans for 2022." Kelly identified sustainability as a longer-term priority for the industry, saying, "What we're all really focused on is climate change with net-zero carbon emissions goals no later than 2050 as an industry."
United Airlines will resume selling liquor Nov. 15 in the main cabin on flights over 300 miles in domestic, Canadian and Latin American markets. "With travel demand on the rise and the many safety protocols we have in place, particularly with our suite of contactless payment solutions, now felt like the right time to expand our inflight beverage menu," said a United spokesperson.
Delta Air Lines is donating 1,000 shares of stock to be given to Black and Latinx students as part of a program that aims to increase their financial knowledge. "Through this program, youths are not only given access to real capital, but they are given a platform to learn about stocks, investment and savings, all of which are pivotal to building the generational wealth needed to begin closing the gaps," said Ashley Black, Delta's director of global equity strategies.
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain is wondering where travel advisors are. Fain says the majority of cruises are being booked online, and he is urging advisors to get in the game because travelers and the industry need their expertise.
In an interview on CNBC, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes pinned hopes for a continued recovery on strong bookings ahead of the holiday season. "We really see good strengths for Thanksgiving and then the holiday season," Hayes said, adding that the airline is also welcoming back more business travelers. "We continue to see business travel claw its way back as people head back to the offices and companies are doing business again. We do think that's going to continue into 2022."
With leisure travel on the rise, the holiday season around the corner and international borders reopening, US airline executives say they're ready to welcome more passengers back to the skies. "We expect a lot of passengers, tremendous pent-up demand and we're going to be ready," said American Airlines President Robert Isom. "We have focused hiring efforts to increase staffing at the airports to give us more resources, to handle those activities when our load factors increase over the holiday period," said Southwest Airlines President Mike Van de Ven.
Air Canada became the first Canadian carrier to join the Aviation Climate Taskforce, a group of 10 major airlines supporting "critical medium-term solutions" to further reduce carbon emissions. "We will work with other global carriers and invest in emerging technologies to advance the decarbonization of our sector and build a long-term, sustainable aviation industry," said Michael Rousseau, president and CEO of Air Canada, which joins American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United as founding members of the group.
Beginning next spring, United Airlines will add flights to London's Heathrow Airport from New York, Denver, San Francisco and a new route from Boston, offering 22 flights per day from the US to London. "London is an integral part of United's network and we remain confident demand will continue to grow, particularly as international business travel returns in 2022," said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United.
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