Delta Air Lines is reporting a 450 percent increase in international point-of-sale bookings in the six weeks since the US government announced a date to enact relaxed restrictions on incoming travel.
Starting Nov. 8, the US opens its borders to inbound international travelers who have received a full course of an approved vaccine. The new rules allow visitors who can provide proof of vaccination to enter without being required to quarantine upon arrival.
Delta says international bookings have surged compared to the six weeks prior to the announcement. The carrier added that “many international flights are expected to operate 100 percent full on Monday, Nov. 8.”
According to the airline, demand has been strong across both leisure and business travelers, with popular destinations at the top of the list including New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and Orlando.
In total the carrier says its Nov. 8 will include 139 flights from 55 international destinations in 38 countries with a capacity of over 25,000 seats.
In anticipation of the wave of demand for international flights, Delta is rolling out enhanced tools to help customers navigate entry requirements during booking and check-in. The airline says customers on nearly all international routes bound for the US will be able to directly upload and verify their COVID-19 vaccination certificate and negative COVID-19 test results using new functionality built into the Delta FlyReady solution.
The updated Delta Discover Map draws data from national and local government agencies and the International Air Transport Association. Results can be filtered to find destinations based on health requirements, including vaccination status.
Delta’s winter schedule will increase capacity on keys routes from European cities including London-Boston, Detroit and New York-JFK; Amsterdam-Boston; Dublin-New York-JFK; Frankfurt-New York-JFK and Munich-Atlanta.
During its earnings call last month, Delta said it posted a third quarter profit of $216 million, excluding some $1.3 billion in payroll support from the US government, with domestic and Latin American markets leading the recovery.
Transatlantic revenues were only at 35 percent compared to the same period in 2019, although this figure was up 20 points over the previous quarter, “driven by border reopenings,” the airline said.
“This is the start of a new era for travel and for many people around the world who have not been able to see loved ones for almost two years,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO.
“While we have seen many countries reopen their borders to American visitors over the summer, our international customers have not been able to fly with us or visit the US. All of that changes now.”