May 7, 2021 - Economy

Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines

Data: CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are slowly getting ready to fly again, with 44% of U.S. adults now saying they plan to fly in the next six months, data from CivicScience show.

By the numbers: That’s a 1 percentage-point bump from March and an 8 percentage-point increase from September. However, it's still well below pre-pandemic levels.

The intrigue: Despite the overall increase in intent to fly, 3 of the 4 major U.S. airlines saw a decline in the number of respondents who said they expected to fly with that airline.

  • This could signal increased interest in using smaller carriers like Southwest, CivicScience notes.
  • It also suggests that customers remain more comfortable with airlines that left middle seats open during the pandemic.
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