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Will Covid doom the airline industry again?

About i360’s Consumer Pulse: The Consumer Pulse asks 1,000, of the 2.5 million US adult panelists, over 150 questions daily. Questions center around key topics such as economy, lifestyle, real estate, automotive, shopping, employment, political opinions, and more.


In recent days media outlets have reported a dramatic decrease in domestic flight bookings due to the surge of the Delta variant in the US, citing a 24% decrease in bookings. This data coming from Adobe’s Analytics team cites plummeting online bookings and declining flight prices, having us believe we are confronting a serious threat to the travel industry’s rebound.

At i360, we decided to investigate these claims further. Using our proprietary longitudinal survey—i360 Consumer Pulse. It tracks the real time and forward looking opinion of US Adults on a daily basis, giving us an opportunity to see what consumers are saying about their future activity.

One question we ask consumers, is how many domestic flights they are planning to take in the next 6 months. During the height of the pandemic (the last months of 2020) the number of people that said they had zero flights planned averaged 68%. In January 2021, however, we saw travel rebound, with this number moving sharply down to 60%, and then falling eventually to 52% during the spring. This change is equivalent to more than 40 Million additional Americans saying they do intend to fly in the next months. Our data proved to be predictive and was backed up by TSA checkpoint and other travel booking data.

Back to present day, we believe some may be jumping to conclusions about the severity of the Delta variant impact.

Per the chart above, we see a slight uptick in people saying zero flights in the next six months, when comparing the moving average of respondents in July (54%) to September (56%), which is from a dramatic decline in travel enthusiasm.

Only time will tell the real impact, but we will continue to monitor for trends in either direction. If you are interested in these insights about travel or hundreds of other topics, companies and products we are tracking on a daily basis, reach out today.

Disclosure: The information in these blog posts, based on i360’s Consumer Pulse, is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice on any matter.


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