Reality check: are flight cancellations and delays affecting net travel bookings?

In the last weeks, flight cancellations and delays due to strikes and lack of staff, not only at airlines, but also at airports, have been affecting passengers in Europe and North America. Airports are even asking airlines to reduce their flight schedule, as they can’t cope with the volume of travellers expected to fly this summer.

Though the situation is not ideal and is affecting the travel recovery after COVID, the overall impact on bookings hasn’t been as big as it could be expected until now. According to Spencer Hanlon, Global Head of Travel Payments at Nium, a B2B payments platform for travel, “refunds of flights and hotels in June were at 1.87 percent compared to 1.73 percent a month earlier”. In July, this could reach 2.38 percent or less than one in 40 bookings.

Travellers might not be calling off their trips, but that doesn’t mean that flight cancellations and delays are not affecting the industry. For Carlos Cendra, Director of Marketing and Sales at Mabrian, a travel intelligence provider, the biggest risk lies in people getting a negative impression of the destination that could affect their chances to return to the place or even recommending it to a friend. “We are keeping an eye on social media monitoring tools to see how visitor perception of destinations is evolving in relation to the news about air delays”.

“The luxury sector is not as worried about the cancellations and delays as the package holiday space” points out Fabián González from Forward_Travel. “For flights to top outbound destinations for luxury travellers are often long-haul and therefore more profitable, so airlines are not likely to cut capacity on those routes”.

The situation at major airports is also benefiting private jet companies, who are about to have another record year. “We have seen an even higher pick up in both enquiries and bookings, as travel advisors know we use private airport terminals and our own private jets” says Leyla Allahverdiyeva, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at RoadRunAir.

At Forward_Travel, we believe that travel and tourism are a driving force for economic growth and cultural understanding around the world. As passionate travellers, we can’t wait to hit the road, so we hope that airlines and airports’ operations return to normal as soon as possible.

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