Airline Holiday Travel Demand Looks Healthy

Airline Holiday Travel Demand Looks Healthy

by Jim Corridore , Senior Analyst 3 Min.
November 18, 2022 | Updated November 21, 2022

U.S. airline web traffic has returned to pre-pandemic levels

While Similarweb data shows a seasonal decline in U.S. airline web traffic after a red-hot summer, traffic remains elevated above pre-pandemic levels, indicating a healthy demand environment. Given this dynamic amid a continued shortage of planes, pilots and other key staff, holiday flights are likely to be crowded and expensive compared with last year.

Key takeaways 

  • Aggregated web traffic for the nine largest U.S. airlines rose 15% in October 2022, year over year, and rose 1% over September. October traffic was up 127% over October 2020 (during the pandemic), and was flat compared with October 2019 (pre-pandemic).
  • Southwest Airlines leads the industry in web traffic, with 64.2 million web visitors on desktop and mobile web in October 2022, followed by American (53 million), Delta (42.7 million), and United (41.6 million).
  • Similarweb data on airline conversions (percentage of web visits that end up in a sale) suggests healthy demand, with October 2022 conversions up 3% over October 2019.

Aggregated traffic for top nine U.S. airlines  suggests demand strength

Taking a look at aggregated web traffic to the nine largest U.S. airlines landing pages, shows that while airlines are seeing a seasonal decline in web traffic after a red-hot summer, overall fall web traffic remains elevated over similar periods in prior years, including pre-pandemic.

Aggregated airline monthly website traffic June 2019-October 2022


Southwest leads the pack in web traffic, followed by American

In terms of U.S. airline market share, Southwest is the leader in the space, based on web traffic. In October 2022, Southwest had 64.2 million visitors to its website on desktop and mobile web, followed by American (52.9  million), Delta (42.7 million), and United (41.6 million).

As a percentage of the group, Southwest made up 25% of the nine largest U.S. airlines’ web traffic in October 2022, followed by American 20%, Delta (16%), and United (16%). JetBlue was in fifth place with 6% of the top nine airlines, and if you add in Spirit (which they recently purchased), they had a roughly 11% market share.

Airline web traffic October 2022


U.S. Airline conversions remain elevated, a good sign for air travel demand

Similarweb data on airline conversions (visits to an airline website that lead to a sale) are elevated above pre-pandemic levels, and are indicative of healthy demand. October 2022 conversions in aggregate were 3% higher than October 2019, and were also up over 2020 (+126%) and 2021 (+0.3%). Airline conversions are a leading indicator of future travel, so with conversions higher than 2019 against a backdrop of constrained capacity due to plane and pilot shortages, among other key staff, you would expect flights to be full and expensive versus the past few years.

In terms of the individual airlines, conversions are generally following market share, with Southwest in the lead with 2.4 million converted visits in October 2022, followed by American (2.2 million), United (1.6 million) and Delta (1.2 million).

U.S. airline conversions October 2020-2022


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Report By: Jim Corridore, Senior Insights Manager


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