Gallup: Fewer Americans Traveled by Air in 2021

A new Gallup survey released this week found that fewer Americans reported traveling by air than in any year in Gallup records between 2003 and 2015, largely because of reduced travel by employed adults.

The survey of U.S. adults, taken December 1 through December 16, found that 38 percent had taken at least one trip on a commercial airliner in the past 12 months, lower than in any year between 2006 to 2015, when between 43 percent and 48 percent reported traveling by air in the past year.

The biggest change was among employed adults, which last year was at 41 percent, down from 54 percent in 2015, Gallup noted. By contrast, the percentage of nonworking adults who report traveling remained fairly steady at 34 percent in 2021 compared to 33 percent in 2015.

Gallup added that of the 38 percent of those surveyed who reported taking a commercial flight, 23 percent took one or two trips, 7 percent took three or four, and 8 percent took five or more trips, all down slightly from the prior measurement in 2015.

Americans as a whole took an average 1.4 air trips in the past 12 months, which is down from 2.1 trips in 2015, largely due to an increase in the number of people who took no commercial flights at all, which rose from 55 percent in 2015 to 62 percent last year.

Employed Americans reported taking an unusually high number of flights in 2015, averaging 5.6, but the latest average of 4.2 is similar to the rate from 2003 through 2008.