Sales of airline tickets by U.S. travel agencies slowed faster last week than they had since early in the Covid-19 pandemic, ARC data shows.
The decline came amid growing concern about the virus, which infected an average of more than 175,000 people per day in the U.S. last week, according to Johns Hopkins University.
For the seven days that ended Nov. 22, the number of tickets sold by agencies was down 71.2% when compared with the same period last year. By comparison, airfare sales transactions within the agent channel were off 67.4% year over year during the week ending Nov. 15. That drop of 3.8 percentage points from week to week is the largest decline since the week ending April 5.
Airfare sales began ticking down on a year-over-year basis in late October after months of slow improvement. During the weeks ending Oct. 18 and Oct. 25, U.S. travel agencies reported 66.1% fewer transactions than those weeks in 2019, the best results the industry has seen since the pandemic began in March.
Total sales in terms of ticket values for U.S. travel agents was off 81.7% year over year last week, compared with being off 78.9% in the week that ended Nov. 15.