•   
  •   
  •   

Travel ‘Worst may be behind us’: Delta sees demand hit from omicron, but thinks it won’t last long

12:45  17 april  2022
12:45  17 april  2022 Source:   thepointsguy.com

Act fast: Today’s the last day for Delta’s SkyMiles sale on NYC-Europe flights from 34k RT

  Act fast: Today’s the last day for Delta’s SkyMiles sale on NYC-Europe flights from 34k RT Delta’s having a really good SkyMiles sale for flights in and out of New York City airports. How good? Try 5,000 miles for a roundtrip in the U.S., for Main Cabin seats. It’s not just domestic flights that are on sale. You can book flights to a variety of European cities for as low as …The sale ends tonight.

  ‘Worst may be behind us’: Delta sees demand hit from omicron, but thinks it won’t last long © Provided by The Points Guy
MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday that 8,000 of the airline’s employees had tested positive for COVID-19 over the past four weeks, which caused the operational disruptions that saw Delta cancel nearly 2,000 flights over the busy holiday travel period.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

“The good news is that they were all fine, there have been no significant health issues that we’ve seen from it, but it’s knocked them out of the operation for a period of time at the same time that we’ve had the busiest travel that we’ve seen in two years,” Bastian told CNBC’s Squawk Box ahead of a quarterly earnings call with investors.

Delta welcomes its 1st Airbus A321neo, launches a new era for domestic travel

  Delta welcomes its 1st Airbus A321neo, launches a new era for domestic travel Delta Air Lines is upgrading the domestic travel experience with the delivery of its first Airbus A321neo jet. The Atlanta-based carrier received its first A321neo, or “new engine option,” from Airbus’ Hamburg production facility on Wednesday. The aircraft, registered N501DA, will take off from the Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW) on Wednesday afternoon and fly to …The Atlanta-based carrier received its first A321neo, or “new engine option,” from Airbus’ Hamburg production facility on Wednesday.

About 20,000 U.S. flights across all airlines were canceled during the holiday period. United Airlines had 3,000 employees out sick with COVID-19 on Tuesday, CEO Scott Kirby said.

The airline posted a net loss of $408 million for the fourth quarter of 2021 and forecasted another loss for the first three months of this year, both driven by disruptions caused by the spread of the omicron variant, but said that things have already begun to improve.

“The good news is that over the past seven days, our operation has stabilized with omicron-related cancellations impacting only about 1% of our flights,” Bastian said during the call. In an even narrower time frame, he added, things have gotten even better.

Related: Snapshot: 1 in 13 flights were canceled during the holidays. How US airlines fared

Amass up to 100,000 Miles With These New Delta Credit Card Offers

  Amass up to 100,000 Miles With These New Delta Credit Card Offers Courtesy of Delta The hardest decision will be picking which destination you’ll fly to with all these bonus miles. AFAR partners with CreditCards.com and may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Compensation may impact how an offer is presented. Our coverage is independent and objective, and has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of the AFAR editorial team. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.

“Since Sunday, the number of omicron-affected cancellations are around 20 a day out of nearly 4,000 daily flights,” he said. “And in fact, yesterday we only had two omicron-related mainline cancellations.”

“So while the new variant is not done, it appears that the worst may be behind us,” Bastian added.

Delta was the first airline to ask the CDC to consider shortening its isolation period for vaccinated people who tested positive for omicron, citing potential operational disruptions.

Although travel demand was trending up towards the holidays, demand has fallen sharply — even for what is typically a slow travel season — and close-in cancellations remain high due to the prevalence of the virus, Bastian and other airline executives said.

Still, despite the impact to holiday travel, the timing of the omicron surge is actually fortuitous going forward, Delta president Glen Hauenstein argued.

Ugly Side Effects of Eating Spicy Foods

  Ugly Side Effects of Eating Spicy Foods Adding some kick to your food can be really healthy. But here are some notable risks.

“These five weeks that it’s impacting are five of the lightest weeks in terms of business travel,” Hauenstein said, adding that “it’s really impacted more the close-in demand than the further out demand.”

Although people typically book flights in January for later in the year, Hauenstein said that a temporary shortening of the booking curve is not expected to impact demand later in the year.


Video: Delta Air Lines CEO on Covid's travel impact: The next few weeks will be difficult (CNBC)

“We believe we have plenty of time to recover those deferred vacation bookings for summer. If they don’t come in the third or fourth week of January, it’s easy for them to come in sometime in February and March,” he said. “So we’re really not concerned yet about spring or summer, we feel that we’ll have a very, very robust demand.”

The airline also remains optimistic on business travel demand later this year, although new delays in office reopenings have impacted that for the first quarter.

“There’s a correlation. A lot of business. travel is triggered by going to visit companies and the companies are closed,” Bastian said during the call. “There’s a real cause-and-effect there.”

Delta sets Airbus A321neo inaugural, debuting with 4 Boston markets

  Delta sets Airbus A321neo inaugural, debuting with 4 Boston markets Delta’s Boston hub will be the launch base for the airline’s newest domestic workhorse, the Airbus A321neo. The carrier announced on Friday the initial markets for the new narrow-body jet, just more than a week after taking delivery of its first shiny new plane from the Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany. At the outset, the …The carrier announced on Friday the initial markets for the new narrow-body jet, just more than a week after taking delivery of its first shiny new plane from the Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany.

Still, recent customer surveys have executives confident that business travel demand will surge later in the quarter and the year.

“The percentage of customers who thought in the first quarter that they would travel the same or more went down slightly, but still, 80% of the corporate travel survey respondents thought they would travel the same or more in the first quarter [compared to] the fourth quarter,” Hauenstein said.

Bastian said that recent indications that the current surge is peaking and even beginning to decline in some parts of the country has boosted consumer confidence.

“We’re expecting,” Hauenstein added, “when we get to spring and summer that we’ll see a robust demand for business travel as people get back into the regular routine and feel safe traveling.”

The airline is set on looking beyond the variant, and plans to hire between 3,000 and 5,000 employees this year “depending on how demand shapes and comes back,” Bastian said. That includes between 100 and 200 pilots per month into early-2023.

Read more: Delta doubles down on pre-pandemic international airline investment strategy

Although the airline has not had trouble hiring pilots for its mainline operation, a shortage of pilots at the regional carrier level has put a strain on Delta and forced it to pull out of some smaller markets for the first part of the year. Part of the issue has been the training and hiring pipeline, Hauenstein said. He expects it to normalize later this year.

Will Endemic COVID Be a Reality Soon Thanks to Omicron?

  Will Endemic COVID Be a Reality Soon Thanks to Omicron? We're still in this together.Omicron’s rise was explosive, causing the largest surge of U.S. cases in the pandemic to date. After being identified in the U.S. starting in late November 2021, sequencing data suggested it had become the dominant variant by mid-December, replacing the prior delta variant that had been circulating since summer. Because omicron is better than prior variants at subverting immunity, either from prior infections or vaccinations, a number of people who thought they would be protected from the virus still ended up developing COVID-19.

“We’re pretty confident that by the second half of this year, that the pipelines will be more full and we’ll be able to restore a lot of the small and medium-sized communities that we’ve had to pull down during the shortage,” he said.

As the airline sees demand return, it also plans to bring on-board service back more fully than it has so far.

“Over the course of the next 2 to 3 months you’re going to see our service patterns largely restored to where we were in 2019,” Bastian said. “It’s going to be improved.”

“We’ve taken the opportunity during the pandemic to make substantial changes to the whole catering spec,” he added. “A really big change that customers are going to be delighted by when they start traveling again in the springtime, particularly internationally. It’s going to be good.”

Delta reported a $208 million profit for 2021, its first in two years, largely thanks to the Payroll Support Program, which covered some labor costs. The airline posted a $12.4 billion loss for 2020, its biggest ever.

United and American are scheduled to report their earnings and brief investors next week, with Southwest the week after.

Featured photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

--

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

It’s time to rethink the COVID-19 travel testing mandate in the US .
Pre-travel testing to the United States likely isn’t going away anytime soon. When omicron became a variant of concern, the U.S. made it more difficult — not easier — to fly into the country from abroad. Currently, all travelers flying to the U.S. from abroad who are 2 or older, regardless of vaccination status or …When omicron became a variant of concern, the U.S. made it more difficult — not easier — to fly into the country from abroad. Currently, all travelers flying to the U.S. from abroad who are 2 or older, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, must show results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of departure.

usr: 1
This is interesting!