Travel Demand Underscores Need for Upgrades to Air Travel System: U.S. Travel

Air travel will surpass pre-pandemic levels this spring, as reported by Airlines for America (A4A), which, according to the U.S. Travel Association, underscores the need for federal government investment in the U.S. air travel system—which is already strained by inefficiencies and passenger dissatisfaction. In all, A4A projects 2.6 million U.S. air passengers per day in March and April—a 1 percent increase over 2019 levels.

“Periods of high demand—like spring break and holiday weekends—are a stress test that reveal the inadequacies of our current air travel system,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “Demand may be high now, but countless frustrating air travel experiences may cause passengers to choose other modes of transportation or simply stay home in the future.”

Years of federal underinvestment have resulted in a stretched-thin system that can no longer meet rising demand, negatively impacting the overall travel experience, says U.S. Travel. According to a recent poll from Ipsos, nearly half (45 percent) of American travelers rate the air travel experience as average or below average. These travelers cited crowds and congestion, flight delays or cancelations, airport security process and cumbersome travel logistics as the main contributors. Nearly 4 in 10 leisure travelers (36 percent) would travel more in the next six months if the travel experience was not so much of a hassle today.

“The U.S. holds a major opportunity to grow the economy by operating a best-in-class air travel system that can handle long-term demand and generate significant revenue,” said Freeman. “Americans want to travel, but they want a reliable system that works.”

Earlier this year, U.S. Travel shared its recommendations to increase international and domestic travel and boost the economy. Among its priorities were:

  • Accelerate the use of biometric data to expedite airport security processes
  • Leverage Congressional help, such as the 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and this year’s Federal Aviation Administration bill
  • Eliminate the requirement for international visitors to be vaccinated for entry

Related Stories

Ellen Davis Joins U.S. Travel Association


Stats: Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Up 54% in February YoY

REAL ID Enforcement Pushed Back to 2025

ASTA President Slams American Airlines Over NDC Implementation