Delta expects 5.6 million passengers to take to the skies between November 19 and 30. This number represents more travelers than any other two-week period since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support all the travelers, Delta hired a new class of flight attendants, which recently graduated from their training program. The last class of flight attendants graduated 78 weeks ago, which represents a record gap between training classes.
During the same time period of 2020, only 2.2 million passengers took flights. Delta and other airlines expressed relief that the demand for travel returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Travel industry analysts expect that more than 520,000 passengers will fly on the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day. This number represents domestic travel.
Delta also expects an increase in international travel over the coming weeks. International flight reservations soared by an astounding 450% when the United States announced that its international borders would reopen to leisure travelers on November 8.
Although the Thanksgiving travel numbers will not reach the 2019 number of 6.3 million passengers, Delta states that the boost represents an important milestone in the economic recovery from the pandemic.
Travelers can fly with confidence, as a number of studies showed that passengers face a low risk of contracting COVID-19, including the delta variant of the virus.
For the Christmas season, Delta expects to serve 8.7 to 9 million passengers between December 17 and January 3. The airline predicts that six to eight of those days will exceed 530,000 passengers on domestic flights.