Skift Take

Delta CEO Ed Bastian was pleasantly surprised by the resilience of travel in 2017 and he expects more of the same next year.

Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of video interviews from the Skift Take Studio, presented by KDS, that were filmed at this year’s Skift Global Forum.

During the 2017 Skift Global Forum in September in New York City, we heard from a host of the travel industry’s top leaders from across every sector.

And after first speaking to them on stage in front of an audience of more than 1,100, we took another few minutes with them to get more insight in our backstage Skift Take Studio.

In our behind-the-scenes conversation, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian shared his thoughts about the purpose of basic economy, the reason business travelers are so important to the airline, and his outlook for 2018.

“Travel demand is strong,” he said. “And I expect it’s going to stay strong.”

Not that he would have predicted as much when the year started. With divisive political rhetoric claiming headlines, nationalists growing more vocal around the world, and concerns about safety, the mood entering 2017 was downbeat.

“You would’ve said it’s not going to be a good year for travel,” Bastian said. “Yet it’s been our best year ever.”

He said he believes that’s because travel has become so integral to people’s lives — and because prices are low.

“It’s now resilient and we can overcome the storms and the political rhetoric and we can continue to work to make the world a smaller place and bring people together,” Bastian said.

Watch all the Skift Take Studio videos here.

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Tags: delta air lines, sgf2017, skift global forum, sts 2017

Photo credit: Delta CEO Ed Bastian said travel has proven to be a resilient industry. Skift

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