KAYAK Flight Search Trends Reveal Early Signs of Recovery

New data shows consumer flight trends in a COVID-19 world

COVID-19 has affected air travel unlike any other event in modern history.  To help observers better understand the impact, KAYAK launched a data center (www.kayak.com/flight-trends) that shows consumer flight search trends from the pandemic’s onset to today.  The data tell the story of a near standstill in air travel, early signs of a recovery, and the emergence of new consumer search trends.

“We’re making our search data available to inform and reassure the travel community,” said Steve Hafner, CEO of KAYAK. “Our industry has a long road to recovery but I’m encouraged by the positive signs that we are starting to see in consumer travel interest.”

The dashboard offers information on global flight search trends(a daily look at how COVID-19 impacted flight searches globally relative to the same day last year), domestic versus international search trends and search trends by destination city (cities seeing the biggest spikes in searches compared to the week and year prior). The data will be updated daily through at least the end of the year.

KAYAK search data reveals:

  • The big drop. Flight searches in the United StatesFranceUnited Kingdom, and Germany reached their lowest point between April 6-8. Flight searches started trending upwards in May. In Latin America, flight searches are continuing to trend downward.
  • Travelers turn away from urban hotspots. In the US, international cities like LondonTokyo and Paris are being replaced with searches for Anchorage, Miami and San Juan. In Europe, cities like MilanVenice, Nice and Ibiza are seeing the biggest drops, replaced by searches for towns in Portugal and Greece.
  • Domestic travel rebounds first. Domestic travel searches in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific are growing at a faster rate than international searches. AustraliaSpain, the United States, and France are seeing the biggest shifts to domestic.
  • News of easing restrictions is motivating travelers. Across the globe, cities with eased travel restrictions are gaining momentum the fastest. In the US, Las Vegas saw the biggest spike in searches following the reopening of casinos. Southern cities are a close second. In Europe, it’s ItalyFrance and Portugal. In Asia Pacific, searches in South KoreaTaiwanAustralia and Japan are returning to 2019 levels for some major domestic destinations.
  • This summer, Europeans may encounter very few American tourists. US searches to Europe are down 65% YoY.

To help travelers navigate a post-COVID-19 world, KAYAK also developed new resources to give travelers more information including an interactive Travel Restrictions Map detailing entry restrictions by state and country and a Flexible Travel Filter to easily identify travel options with free cancellations.

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