According to airline executives, demand for flights to Europe from the United States has continued to improve well into the fall, well past the traditional peak for trips to the region, as eager travelers make up for lost time and airlines try to obtain to bring in revenue after more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life in terms of demand in the fall,” United Airlines’ senior vice president of global Network Planning and Alliances, Patrick Quayle, stated.
It’s a positive change for airlines looking to boost income after travel restrictions and fears over Covid-19 reduced demand for many European flights in 2020 and 2021. Profitable business travel sectors have been slower to recover than leisure travel segments, making these trips even more significant.
“I think there’s no question that people’s appetite for going to Europe has gotten longer,” said Kyle Potter, executive editor of Thrifty Traveler, a travel and flight deal website. “A lot of the really ugly flight prices led people to put off those kinds of trips that they were putting off for many years.”
“They saw some gross $900, $1,200 airfare in July and August, and maybe they saw a deal to get there for half the pricing,” this fall, Potter said.
Furthermore, a strong US currency makes fall travels to Europe more appealing, lowering the cost of everything from shopping in Milan to fine dining in Paris or London for many US tourists.
The expansion of the traditional European travel season comes after a challenging summer for air travel, particularly in that region, with issues ranging from staffing shortages and misplaced luggage to heat waves and sky-high costs.
While temperatures are dropping, airlines aren’t cutting back on US-Europe capacity as they did before the pandemic in 2019. United, for example, is running its Newark to Reykjavik and Newark to Athens services through October, which is one month later than in 2019.