Delta Variant: Air Travel Starting to Slow Due to Virus Concerns

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It appears the delta variant is creating turbulence for airlines.

After steady rises in air travel since vaccinations began, the numbers recently have started to fall. The reason? Growing concern over the delta variant.

TSA said the number of travelers fell by about 10% from July's peak to this week.

Southwest Airlines even warned Wall Street that flight cancellations will hurt its bottom line.

But in the Bay Area, people like Renee Williamson said they are still ready to travel.

"It's just more on my mind, but we do social distancing, wear masks," she said of traveling during the pandemic. "I have my hand sanitizer. I'm going to go about my business."

Mahesh Chaddah, co-founder for, said the drop in local travel comes largely from businesses, which have not resumed their hotel and conference trips.

"Business travel is not at the same recovery path as leisure travel, that's for sure," Chaddah said.

Another factor possibly slowing business travel is tech companies slowing their return to the office. An example of that also came on Thursday, with Facebook announcing it would delay employees returning to the office until January 2022 at the earliest.

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