Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian believes that more people will be flying this summer for short getaways. While that might be good news for airlines, it could lead to more trouble for travelers. The CEO warned customers that they should prepare for airline delays and flight disruptions, similar to last year.
Bastian told CNBC that Air travel “is something the consumer’s prioritizing. They may be pulling back in other areas … but I don’t see it in our credit card data, I don’t see it in our bookings.”
As it reported quarterly earnings Thursday, Delta said it was projecting “record advance bookings for the summer.”
It’s a statement supported by JPMorgan Chase industry analyst Jamie Baker, who said in a recent note to clients that he could not see “definitive evidence of cooling travel demand.” Booked revenue for the second quarter of 2023, he said, is “meaningfully ahead of last year.”
Data from the mobile travel booking site Hopper also shows demand for the summer travel season will be “strong,” especially for international trips, where prices are up 34% from last year and up 32% from 2019.
The airline industry, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, have struggled over the past few months. Last Christmas saw one of the worst cancellation pileups in history. Nearly 3,200 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled on Christmas Day alone.
One of Delta’s rivals, Southwest Airlines, stranded hundreds of thousands of customers during the last week of 2022, canceling nearly 13,000 flights.
To make matters worse, in January, the FAA “put all of the flight departures in the U.S. on hold, essentially grounding all flights for a couple of hours,” Mashablewrote.
New Conservative Postwrote that the outage resulted in thousands of delays and cancellations across the country during the second week of January, leaving an already rattled travel community stunned “just weeks after a massive winter storm led to several days of travel chaos, most notably at Southwest Airlines, which on its own canceled more than 16,700 flights between December 21 and December 31.”
Mashablecontinued: “The agency did not immediately share a reason for the outage, resulting in speculation about a possible cyberattack(Opens in a new tab), and prompting President Joe Biden to order a Department of Transportation (DOT) investigation.