Delta sees 450% increase in bookings from outside U.S. as travel ban lifts

Delta Air Lines says its bookings from outside the United States have jumped 450% as travelers anticipate America’s borders opening next week to vaccinated passengers from 33 countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions caused Atlanta-based Delta’s international business to plummet. Revenue from that segment was only 42% of what it was in 2019, the company reported in its third quarter results.

But now, restrictions on travel to the United States from 33 countries are set to ease starting Monday for foreign nationals with proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test result.

Delta said it expects many of its international flights to be completely full that day. Delta’s first flight to arrive will be from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Hartsfield-Jackson is Delta’s busiest international hub, according to the airline, which has 56 international flights a day to 39 cities.

Metro Atlanta had more than 1 million international visitors a year before the pandemic, according to Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO William Pate. “Many of our conventions attract large international audiences, so this is a critical step in our industry’s recovery,” he added.

Meanwhile, Americans have been flying internationally for vacations to Mexico or Caribbean countries, which have been welcoming tourists. Delta’s Latin American passenger revenues were 84% recovered in the third quarter, for example.