United says domestic leisure fares are topping 2019 levels as bookings pick up

Business

A United Airlines Holdings Inc. employee helps a traveler at a ticket counter for Hawaii at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Summer vacations continue to get more expensive as travelers return after a more than yearlong pandemic lull.

United Airlines on Tuesday said yields on domestic leisure tickets purchased this month topped 2019 levels and said the trend would continue through the summer, echoing similar comments from Southwest Airlines last week.

Chicago-based United said total revenue per available seat mile, a gauge of how much revenue airlines are bringing in compared with its capacity, would be down 12% for the second quarter, compared with previous guidance of about a 20% decline. Weak business travel demand is weighing on yields overall, though those are close to 2019 levels, United said.

United expects to get to post positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in the third quarter and narrower losses for the second quarter.

U.S. airport screenings have returned to pre-pandemic volumes but are still low for this time of year. On Monday, the Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1.86 million people compared with 2.1 million on the same date in 2019 and just 267,451 last year.

United shares were up close to 2% in premarket trading.

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