As the U.S. reopens to fully vaccinated international travellers, Delta Airlines is seeing a surge in bookings as the airline reunites families and friends who have been kept apart for the past 20 months.
In the six weeks since the U.S reopening was announced, Delta has seen a 450 percent increase in international point-of-sale bookings versus the six weeks prior to the announcement.
Many international flights are expected to operate 100 percent full on Monday, Nov. 8 with high passenger volume throughout the following weeks.
The reopening positively impacts customers in 33 countries around the world, with Delta serving 10 of these nonstop and more via its global hubs in connection with its partners, including Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic.
The strong demand is reflected across both leisure and business travellers to popular destinations such as New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and Orlando. In total, the airline will operate 139 flights from 55 international destinations in 38 countries landing in the U.S. on Nov. 8, offering more than 25,000 seats.
“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,” Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO said.
“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.”
Flight DL106 from Sao Paulo to Atlanta will be Delta’s first international flight to touchdown in the U.S. under the new rules on Monday at 09:35 with dozens more closely behind.
As consumer confidence in travel returns, Delta is increasing flights this winter from key European cities including London-Boston, Detroit and New York-JFK, Amsterdam-Boston, Dublin-New York-JFK, Frankfurt-New York-JFK and Munich-Atlanta.
Delta’s hometown airport, Atlanta remains its busiest international hub with 56 daily departures to 39 international destinations, followed by the U.S.’s most visited city, New York-JFK, which has 28 daily departures to 21 international cities.
The milestone reopening is said to provide a boost to global economies while simultaneously marking the start of the recovery of Delta’s international business.
The airline reported this summer that it’s U.S. domestic leisure business has already rebounded to 2019 levels, but on-going border restrictions have prevented a meaningful recovery across the globe. International inbound travel to the U.S. contributed $234 billion, in export income to the U.S. economy, generated a trade surplus of $51 billion, and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs in 2019.