Despite inflation shunning many from financial comfort, the burden of cabin fever is accelerating travel.
According to American Airlines CEO Robert Isom, demand for flights has remained “consistent” and is “shaping our commercial focus for 2023 and beyond.”
The main culprit behind persistent travel demand? Remote working.
More Americans than ever before have gained workplace flexibility, allowing them to take their work on the road while still enjoying the fruits of travel.
Bleisure (business and leisure) travel is becoming a mainstay as workers are less confined to geographical boundaries, oftentimes just needing their laptop to complete work tasks.
This is great news for airlines, who are increasingly relying on bleisure travelers to generate revenue. In fact, these professionals were twice as likely to enroll in American Airlines’ loyalty program according to the company’s Chief Commercial Officer Vasu Raja.
“We’re seeing people travel with a lot more intentionality,” said Raja. “And when that happens, those same customers are much more willing to go and earn miles so they can go and take their family on vacation, for example.”
While Labor Day typically marks a slowdown in travel, October is projected to outperform September according to data from United Airlines.
“There’s been a permanent structural change in leisure demand because of the flexibility that hybrid work allows,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines. “This is not pent-up demand. It’s the new normal.”