American Airlines in a regulatory filing said passengers are returning. Spring bookings are 90% of what they were in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic and most of the carrier’s fleet will soon be back in the air.
It comes as no surprise to Southlake businessman Steve Cosgrove who has seen the increase at his Dynamic Travel agency.
“Yes. People are going on vacation. I can’t say business travel is back, but vacation travel is going gangbusters,” Cosgrove said.
His agency caters to leisure travel, but Cosgrove said the airlines covet business travelers.
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“What they pay for an air ticket has been more profitable to the airlines than a vacation traveler. But right now, any traveler is better than no traveler,” Cosgrove said.
In addition to the travel agency, Cosgrove has an aviation-themed store next door in Southlake and another store inside a terminal at Dallas-Fort Worth International Aiport with all American Airlines merchandise.
His are among the many examples of businesses that count on the thriving airline industry in North Texas.
“It is across the Metroplex. Get things going, people traveling, the trickle-down effect is large, and goes a long way,” Cosgrove said.
At DFW Airport Tuesday, many travelers demonstrated the return of business.
Jessica Savannah was heading north from a family visit after not flying in the pandemic.
“In my opinion, it was a lot more people than I expected, which I was very surprised at,” she said.
Donald Roden and his family were heading home to New York after their family event in Texas.
Roden said he felt comfortable and was not surprised by American’s spring expectations.
“People want to get out. People are tired of being locked up so they want to go. So I can see it,” Roden said.
Bill Poerstel said he is the sort of business traveler American is seeking.
He returned to flying on October.
“If you're smart and you wear your mask and you don't bump into people that you don't know, I feel very comfortable,” he said.
Poerstel said he expects some business travelers will not fly as often after learning to work from home with communication technology.
But as more people get vaccinated, a big piece of the North Texas economy is counting on people flying.