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Image of a jet taking off.

Image credit: Adobe Stock/ phaisarnwong2517.

Adobe continues to track the airline recovery, with new Adobe Analytics data for U.S. domestic flight bookings online. Adobe provides the most comprehensive report of its kind, measuring direct consumer transactions from 6 of the top 10 U.S. airlines and over 150 billion web visits.

Prices for domestic flights continue to rise in May, increasing 30 percent over 2019 levels and 6.2 percent over April. This marks the fourth consecutive month where prices have risen over pre-pandemic levels (Apr. 2022 up 27 percent — Mar. 2022 up 20 percent — Feb. 2022 up 5 percent). Prices have also increased significantly over the course of the year, rising 47 percent since January 2022.

Domestic flight bookings in May 2022 drove $8.3 billion in online spend, a 6.2 percent increase from the month prior (Apr. 2022, $7.8 billion), and equivalent to over $500 million more in consumer spend. Bookings, however, are down by 2.3 percent on a monthly basis, showing the impact of elevated prices.

Compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, both spend and bookings remain elevated. With May, online spend is up 29 percent compared to May 2019, and bookings are up by 4.4 percent. Year-to-date, consumers have spent a total of $37.1 billion online for domestic flights, nearly double what was spent in the first five months of 2021 ($19.2 billion).

Inflation in ticket prices continues to impact consumer purchasing power. While online spend in May is up 29 percent versus 2019 levels, as cited, actual bookings are up by just 4.4 percent. Like previous months, the wide gap shows that consumers have been paying considerably more for the same amount of service.

“We are beginning to see a more notable shift from goods to services, with consumers spending over half a billion dollars more on domestic flights in May,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. “While some consumers have been able to stomach the higher fares, especially for those who delayed travel plans during the pandemic, the dip in bookings shows that some are rethinking their appetite for getting on a plane.”

Looking ahead

High prices are beginning to impact Summer plans (trips that land between June 2022 and August 2022). Domestic bookings for Summer travel is down 2 percent compared to this point in 2019 (through the end of May) — Spend is up by 11 percent however, showing the impact of higher fares.

Based on arrival sites, the top 10 domestic destinations for those traveling this summer include: Bozeman, MT — Orlando, FL — Kailua-Kona, HI — Fort Meyers, FL — Long Beach, CA — Austin, TX — Pensacola, FL — Seattle, WA — Kahului, HI — Honolulu, HI (Top 10 destinations based on lift, not volume).

Methodology: Adobe offers the most comprehensive set of insights of its kind, based on analysis through Adobe Analytics that covers over 150 billion visits to travel, leisure and hospitality sites — measuring transactions from 6 of the top 10 U.S. airlines (more than any other technology company).

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