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Travelers in the Miami International Airport. Photo: by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Continued worries about the Delta variant are derailing fall travel plans.

Driving the news: Thanksgiving domestic flight bookings in August were 18% lower this year compared with 2019, according to a new Adobe Digital Economy Index report out Monday morning.

Why it matters: Spring hopes that air travel would pick up later in the year, providing much-needed relief to a battered industry, have been dashed.

The big picture: Domestic flight demand is still far off pre-pandemic levels.

  • Online bookings last month reached $4 billion, a decline of 35% from pre-pandemic levels in August 2019 and 24% from this July.
  • Year-to-date through August, total domestic bookings represent $38 billion, down 30% from the same time period in 2019.

What they’re saying: When flight bookings for November and December were up 9% and 17% in March versus March 2019, it was a promising signal, says Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.

  • But consumers became more cautious as the Delta variant spread. The bulk of bookings happens three to four months before peak periods, so August is beginning to show a better picture of what the rest of the year might look like, Pandya adds. 

The bottom line: The economy’s recovery has been uneven and is still dependent on solving the health crisis. 

Go deeper

U.S. retail sales beat expectations for second month in a row

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The strength of retail sales data has shocked prognosticators for the second month in a row.

What’s new: Although September spending was lower than the peaks reached in the post-vax, pre-Delta variant honeymoon economy of the spring, consumers still spent more defiantly than economists had expected.

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate panel will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with "crimes against humanity," alleging his COVID-19 pandemic response led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The latest: The lawmakers initially said Bolsonaro should be charged with mass homicide and genocide, but lawmakers updated the report to replace these with the new charge, its lead author, Sen. Renan Calheiros, told the NYT.