Thanksgiving flight bookings down from 2019, but higher fares lift revenue

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Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Nov. 9, 2022

Leslie Josephs | CNBC

Consumers have booked fewer flights for Thanksgiving week than they did three years ago, before the Covid pandemic, according to Adobe data released Thursday.

Domestic bookings are down 7% from the same point of 2019, but high fares have translated to a 3% increase in revenue.

Air travel demand has been resilient this year, despite high inflation and a particularly sharp rise in fares, helping airlines more than make up for a surge in fuel and other costs.

Inflation in October rose less than expected, but airfare was up nearly 43% from last year.

“The slower bookings growth indicates that some consumers may be waiting to see if prices come down materially, while others may pursue alternate forms of travel, such as by car or train,” Adobe said in its report, which looked at online bookings of the six largest U.S. carriers.

Consumers have spent $76 billion on flights online this year, up 17% from 2019, Adobe said. Bookings rose 5%, showing a chunk of the increase was due to higher fares.

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