May 15, 2024

Optimistic, Nimble and Reactive: A Fresh Start for U.S. Airlines in 2024

With another strong, profitable year under their belts, airlines are ready to return to "normal." According to Phocuswright’s latest travel research report U.S. Airline Market Report 2023-2027, they are already seeing travel patterns that mirror pre-pandemic times, leading them to believe that trends have shifted back to 2019 and before.

In 2023, the air segment represented 42% of U.S. travel bookings (see figure below), edging out hotels as the country's largest travel segment. But the drawn-out comeback in corporate travel, a slowdown in economic growth and nagging worries about a possible recession in the latter part of 2024 will keep airlines guarded about the year ahead. Due to increases in capacity and lower overall airfares, airlines will not see the remarkable double-digit growth of the past three years going forward. If anything, 2024 will be a year of cautious optimism as carriers look to stay nimble and reactive in an unstable environment.

Total Gross Bookings by Share and Segment

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