Home Travel Revenge Travel Lives As Baby Boomers Flock To Europe, Delta Says

Revenge Travel Lives As Baby Boomers Flock To Europe, Delta Says

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Revenge Travel Lives As Baby Boomers Flock To Europe, Delta Says


Delta Air Liness’ president executives say baby boomers continue to flock to transatlantic destinations, particularly in Southern Europe, as 2024 spring and summer travel patterns become evident.

“Revenge travel has years to go, particularly in long-haul international,” said Delta President Glen Hauenstein on the carrier’s fourth quarter earnings call on Friday. “People in their retirement years want to travel. We weren’t able to accommodate them all last year.”

The “revenge travel” phenomenon emerged as a key trend in post-pandemic travel, in reference to trips that travelers took in 2022 and 2023 because they were unable to take them at the height of the pandemic. But late in 2023, various experts began to proclaim that revenge travel has ended.

That is not how Delta sees it.

Hauenstein said that within the “aging demographic,” the top transatlantic destinations include “hot spots” Italy, Spain and Greece. Additionally, he said, “Portugal is a hot spot during peak summer” and Delta is seeing more traffic to the Copenhagen and Stockholm hubs operated by its new partner SAS.

SAS, emerging from bankruptcy, will be partially owned by Delta partner Air France/KLM and will move from the Star Alliance to the SkyTeam alliance this spring.

Looking ahead to spring and summer transatlantic travel “Early returns for spring and summer are very favorable,” Hauenstein said, with 40% of transatlantic bookings already in place. Delta hopes to improve on its 2023 performance in the region, he said, even though “We had a fantastic year in the transatlantic. We are hoping to beat that.”

He noted that Delta has loaded flights to Tel Aviv, starting in April, into its reservations system. In October, Delta suspended service to Tel Aviv from Atlanta, Boston and New York. As a result, it lost a point in revenue in the fourth quarter, he said.

A key trend in the transatlantic has been growth outside of the traditionally strong summer months. “We’ve seen the season longer for leisure travel to Europe,” said CEO Ed Bastian. Now, “March through October is pretty strong” even though it is not as strong as peak summer.

Another theme of Delta’s call was that after years of pandemic recovery, the carrier is moving from “restoration to optimization,” Bastian said. The carrier has 10% more employees than it did in 2019, no longer has too few available pilots and can now focus on growth its hubs and its partners’ hubs.

“We expect demand to remain strong particularly for the premium experience that Delta provides,” Bastian said. “Our customer base is in a healthy financial position,” with travel still a top priority, he said.

The end of revenge travel was proclaimed in various 2023 headlines including “Revenge Travel Is Coming to an End, Says Industry CEO;” “Revenge Travel Is Dead: What Comes Next?;” “Revenge Travel Isn’t So Exciting Anymore,” and “Is the Party Over? New Data Suggests Revenge Travel May Be Ending Soon.”

Stories reflected observations by consulting firm Morning Consult, which said in September that “travel intentions” involving Europe were diminishing; by consulting firm Oxford Economics, which said in September that “Chinese consumers are rapidly losing their gusto.” and by reports of declining fare levels in some regions.

Additionally, the Federal Reserve Beige Book for September said that, . “Consumer spending on tourism was stronger than expected, surging during what most contacts considered the last stage of pent-up demand for leisure travel from the pandemic era.”



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