Thanksgiving flight bookings top pre-pandemic levels

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Flight bookings have surged for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, topping pre-pandemic 2019 bookings by 3.2%, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

It's welcome relief for an industry looking for a boost in revenue after the virus decimated travel for more than a year before vaccination rates increased and restrictions eased.

Natalia Abrahao is lifted up by her fiancé Mark Ogertsehnig as they greet one another at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (AP Photo/Seth Wenig / AP Newsroom)

Flights that have been booked and are slated to land between Nov. 20 and Nov. 25 are 78% higher compared to a year ago, according to Adobe, which measured direct consumer transactions from six of the top 10 U.S. airlines. 

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"After a year where many were unable to see their friends and families for Thanksgiving, we are expecting busy airports this month," Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst Vivek Pandya said.  

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC.20.29-1.04-4.88%
DALDELTA AIR LINES, INC.42.22-1.23-2.83%
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC.20.29-1.04-4.88%
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.48.42-0.66-1.34%

Still, "despite the uptick in holiday travel, bookings and revenue remained blunted in the last two months," due in part because of virus-related discounting, according to Adobe. 

A Lufthansa flight pulls up to the gate as it arrives from Munich, Germany at Miami International Airport, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky / AP Newsroom)

Consumers spent a collective $4.2 billion in online spending for domestic flights, 35% below the comparable period in 2019. 

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October showed more promise, with consumers spending $4.8 billion online. That is about 28% below the same period in 2019, according to Adobe. 

FILE – Travelers move through Salt Lake City International Airport Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file) (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file / AP Newsroom)

However, the holiday uptick is driving up prices online once again following a "sizeable drop during the Covid-19 Delta variant surge," according to Adobe. 

Flight prices in September were 13% below what they were in 2019. By October, prices were just 7% below two years ago.

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