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Airlines Money In as Flexible Work Changes Travel Patterns

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“We all know that travelers, lots of them, haven’t traveled either home for the vacations or for traditional vacations for 3 years now, and we all know that demand goes to be incredibly high,” she said.

United said this week that even demand between Thanksgiving and Christmas was growing, with sales for flights throughout the first two weeks of December ahead of where they were in 2019.

Deals should still be available, if travelers are flexible on when and where they fly. Some flights abroad are notably low cost around Thanksgiving, for instance. But even those flights are selling fast.

While the recovery in international travel and company travel, two profitable parts of the business, has lagged behind that of domestic travel over the past two years, airlines say each are rebounding steadily.

In some cases, the 2 are intertwined: At United, corporate travel is recovering faster on flights across the Atlantic Ocean than inside the USA, the airline’s chief industrial officer, Andrew Nocella, said on Wednesday’s call.

“A Zoom meeting is just less practical in a worldwide setting,” he said.

The international rebound is driven by a robust U.S. dollar and a continued reopening of borders around the globe. Delta said last week that it had more flights scheduled across the Atlantic this month than in October 2019, leading the rebound in other regions. Delta and United said they expected a rapid rise in demand for travel to Japan after its recent reopening.

At American, the rise of blended trips and travel by small and medium-size businesses has greater than offset a slower rebound in travel by typically larger corporations. That’s since the people flying those blended and small-business trips are increasingly buying tickets that yield higher profits for the airline or are desirous about useful perks, like premium seats, branded bank cards or the airline’s loyalty program.

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