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People are itching to travel again, even for business

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A woman walks through an empty airport.

Airlines are reporting increased bookings. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

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The Transportation Security Administration screened 1,263,990 people at airport checkpoints Monday. It was the fifth day in a row that that number was over 1.2 million.

Some airlines are also reporting increased bookings as more people get vaccinated.

But is this all about leisure travel, or is business travel coming back, too?

There are a lot of people who cannot wait to get on an airplane again to see family or friends or just go somewhere new. And a growing number are, according to Victoria Walker at The Points Guy.

“We’re starting to see more and more travelers saying since they’ve been vaccinated, they feel more comfortable going to see family, they feel more comfortable taking a vacation to the Caribbean,” she said.

And apparently traveling for work, too.

According to a survey by the Global Business Travel Association, nearly half of airlines and hotels say bookings for corporate travel are up.

“This is a good sign,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of the association. She said executives are telling her they’re ready. “I’ve heard from lots of senior leaders that they have missed the culture-building aspect of being with their teams around the world in a physical space.”

Plus, she said, “I can almost guarantee it that if your competitor is sending people out to make those sales calls, that you will soon be doing the same thing.”

That would be great news for airlines. Business travelers tend to pay higher fares and travel more often, said industry analyst Henry Harteveldt. “And they’re more likely to buy the optional products that airlines sell, whether it’s an extra leg room seat, a beer on the plane, priority boarding or whatever else.”

But, Harteveldt said, the rebound will probably take a couple of years.

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