Video: Delta’s international bookings surge 450% as USA prepares for global reopening

by James Wilkinson

Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian, has revealed the carrier has seen a 450% increase in international bookings over the past six weeks as the United States readies to open to all vaccinated travellers from across the globe.

He said the reopening of the United States positively impacts customers in 33 countries around the world, with Delta serving 10 of these nonstop and more via its global hubs in connection with its partners, including Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic.

“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,” he said. “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 U.S.


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“All of that changes now. We’re grateful to the U.S. government for lifting travel restrictions and are looking forward to reuniting families, friends and colleagues over the coming days and weeks.”

As consumer confidence in travel returns, Bastian said Delta is increasing flights this winter from key European cities including London-Boston, Detroit and New York-JFK, Amsterdam-Boston, Dublin-New York-JFK, Frankfurt-New York-JFK and Munich-Atlanta.

He revealed Atlanta, Delta’s hometown airport, remains its busiest international hub with 56 daily departures to 39 international destinations. It is followed by the most-visited U.S. city, New York-JFK, which has 28 daily departures to 21 international cities.

The milestone reopening provides a boost to global economies while simultaneously marking the start of the recovery of Delta’s international business, according to the carrier.

The airline reported this summer that its U.S. domestic leisure business has already rebounded to 2019 levels, but ongoing border restrictions have prevented a meaningful recovery across the globe.

International inbound travel to the U.S. contributed US$234 billion in export income to the U.S. economy, generated a trade surplus of US$51 billion and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs in 2019.

Under the new entry requirements, foreign nationals will be permitted to enter the U.S. with proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.

Non-vaccinated foreign nationals may enter the U.S. only if they meet criteria for very limited exceptions and commit to post-arrival testing, quarantine and vaccination.

All customers aged two and older, must wear a face covering throughout the journey, while Delta’s enhanced cleanliness measures also remain in place, according to the carrier, and these include regular cleaning and sanitising of high-touch areas onboard aircraft and at airports, as well as electrostatic spraying of aircraft interiors with high-grade disinfectant to ensure no surface goes unnoticed.