US air travel hits new low in 2021: Gallup

U.S. air travel hit a new low in 2021, with fewer Americans opting to travel by air, according to a new survey.

According to Gallup, fewer than four in 10 adults flew in 2021, a marked shift from pre-COVID-19 years.

Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults polled in a Dec. 1-16 Gallup survey reported they had taken at least one trip on a commercial airliner in the past 12 months. The survey said it counted each round trip as a single trip.

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Out of the adults polled who flew in 2021, around 23 percent took one or two trips, 7 percent took three or four trips and 8 percent took five or more trips.

This is lower than the percentages Gallup found in December measurements from 2006 to 2015, when between 43 percent and 48 percent reported traveling by air in the past year. 

Gallup noted that while data from the Transportation Security Administration shows that air travel has increased in 2021 when compared to record low levels in 2020, it is still not at pre-pandemic levels yet. 

However, Gallup said its survey reinforced the belief that a reduction in business travel is likely most responsible for the decline in air travel percentages.

Reuters reported last year that new travel restrictions as a result of the omicron variant have set back the budding recovery in international flights, creating delays in some regions, according to airline and airport officials.