Travel in a New Light

With business travel caught between a fading pandemic crisis and an uncertain return, we look for clues to the future
Open up any newspaper, magazine or travel website these days and you will find no shortage of studies showing just how eager business travelers are to get back on the road. There are companies to rebuild, connections to re-bridge and a level of confidence to rediscover – but all that still lies ahead. For now, we find ourselves in a murky transition, knowing the new normal will be different but not quite sure how.

As planes fill up now, including occupying middle seats and serving passengers drinks, and as hotels and resorts are ratcheting up rates to meet rising occupancies, we look at what’s in store for travel in the coming weeks, months and even years.

So far the news has been good. Domestic flights are nearly 77 percent full, on average, according to trade group Airlines for America. Carriers are ramping up flights and routes, and international travel, however tentative, is set to get a big boost from the European Union as borders open up, one by one, mostly to vaccinated travelers.

“Pre-pandemic, the issue was overcrowding at airports that were operating over their planned capacity,” says Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “Airlines had done a fantastic job maximizing the load on flights, which is key to profitability. No flier likes a packed aircraft, but that’s not the way to operate a financially successful airline,” Taylor explains.

Categories: Special ReportGlobal Travel

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