With airports around the world struggling to keep up with demand, it’s clear that the pandemic is over.
In Europe, an unprecedented wave of flight cancellations — the like of which has never been seen before — has afflicted international travelers.
Images of passengers standing for hours in snaking queues just to get into airport terminals have made headlines around the world.
The international hubs of London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt, and Paris Charles de Gaulle have been some of the worst offenders.
But passengers at airports in other parts of the world have suffered the same fate.
In April, the TSA reported that of every 1,000 pieces of luggage checked, 6 were temporarily or permanently lost in the USA.
A cacophony of staffing problems, technical issues, and weather conditions forced thousands of passengers to queue for hours outside Sydney International in July.
The list goes on and on, just as the queues do.
What changed in the interluding pandemic years? How has world travel descended into such a mess?
The writing has been on the wall according to several barometers.
Airports around the world have been holding job fairs to try and recruit baggage handlers and security personnel. It clearly has not worked.
Middle Eastern carriers reported a 265% surge in demand in April 2022 versus the previous year and research from Finty found that 53% more Australians were searching for travel credit cards in 2022 compared to 2021.
The air travel industry as a whole has failed to handle the rapid shift away from catering to low numbers of predominantly business travelers in the pandemic lull.
Doomsayers who thought that air travel wouldn’t recover for decades have been proven wrong with the reintroduction of each giant A380.
Pandemic stocks that pumped with the shift to remote work and shopping online are down. Travel stocks are up.
Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM) once traded for more than $400 at the peak of the stock market’s pandemic rally. It has since retraced to $100.
Global hotel booking aggregator Booking.com (NASDAQ: BKNG) weathered the worst of the travel restrictions, corrected, and now trades in the same range as it did in 2017-2020.
Although the supply side of the industry can only be described as broken, the signals are positive for the future of world travel.