Travel Agency Sales Drop 20% in November: Uh Oh

Travel agencies reported that their total sales dropped 20% in November over the same month the previous year, bringing their total sales to $4.8 billion in the month, a number not seen since 9/11. Even worse news for airlines: the sales drop was even worse than the drop in airline traffic, suggesting that future bookings are down even further. While traffic numbers will be ugly next year, I’m not expecting a full financial bloodbath. Airlines have shrunk themselves far better than they’ve done in the past (case in point is today’s announcement that Delta will offer buyouts to its 75,000 employees). With fuel relatively cheap, and capacity shrunk significantly, it won’t be a great year, but we’ve seen far, far worse.

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