Airport lounge visits worldwide are on the rise, reflecting a growing momentum in the number of flights across the globe. According to data from Collinson’s Priority Pass, total lounge visits throughout the network are up by 46 percent for the first half of 2021 compared to the second half of 2020.
Domestic air travel is rebounding more quickly in some parts of the world than in others. In the US and UK, airlines are operating up to 60 percent of flights of the flights that were operating prior to the pandemic levels.
This added boost to domestic travel has translated into a 34 percent rise in Priority Pass lounge visits for the first half of 2021, compared to the second half of 2020. In a broader survey, 87 percent of travelers said they wanted access to spaces that allowed for greater social distancing.
The recovery of air travel in the US is the highest of any market in the world, with nearly 3.8 million flights taken in the past year – of which 95 percent are domestic. The lounge data shows domestic travel hotspots in the US include Miami, followed by lounges in Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Orlando.
Globally, domestic flights are forecasted to be at 90 percent passenger capacity by April 2022. However the recovery in international travel is expected to be uneven, with some regions rebounding faster than others. The US, for example, is projected to be the first region to see flights recover to pre-pandemic volumes, while APAC is expected to lag. Priority Pass forecasts that lounge visits will hit over 60 percent recovery first in Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, followed by Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, with Canada coming in last.
“It’s clear that the travel industry is starting to recover strongly, and that the green shoots of regrowth are showing across both international and domestic flights,” said Andy Besant, director of travel experiences at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass. “Tracking our lounge coverage against flight patterns is key to our strategy; and we will continue to ensure the expansion of our offering and services to our members in the most relevant locations.”
Earlier this year Priority Pass announced plans to add over 150 airport lounges in 2021, including some 40 first and business class lounges across China through a partnership with China Southern Airlines. Some of the other lounges added so far include Lufthansa’s business lounges at New York JFK, Newark and Washington Dulles, and new locations in Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and India.