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Good morning from Skift. It's Wednesday, May 25, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses what’s keeping some potential U.S. travelers at home, why Spirit is rejecting JetBlue (again), and how events contribute to climate change.

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Episode Notes

Although Covid remains an important consideration in travel planning, the pandemic won’t be the biggest factor keeping U.S. travelers home this summer. Financial concerns amid inflation have finally surpassed health worries as the main reason travelers are staying home, reports Contributor Mary Ann Ha.

A recent summer travel survey by accounting firm Deloitte revealed that 44 percent of respondents not hitting the road said financial concerns drove their decision. That figure is a 13 percentage point increase from last year. The survey marks the first time, since the start of the pandemic, that health and safety factors weren’t the primary reason keeping U.S. consumers from traveling. Travelers with a household income under $50,000 are twice as likely to say — compared to those reporting higher income levels — that they substantially cut their travel budgets from pre-Covid years.

We shift now to Spirit Airlines. The carrier has again rejected an unsolicited $3.6 billion merger offer from JetBlue Airways, which Spirit CEO Ted Christie blasted as being cynical, reports Madhu Unnikrishnan, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

Christie said during a call with analysts earlier this week that Spirit’s board turned down JetBlue’s bid because it didn’t believe the offer would receive regulatory approval. JetBlue is currently entangled in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has argued that JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance with American Airlines would reduce competition on the East Coast. Christie said Spirit believes it’s inconceivable that JetBlue’s bid would be approved unless the New York-based carrier abandons the alliance, which it refuses to do. Spirit’s board has urged shareholders to vote for Frontier’s $2.9 billion merger offer.

But Christie made his most pointed comments about what he considers JetBlue’s cynical motive for making an offer for Spirit. He said the bid was an attempt to derail the Frontier-Spirit merger, which could create the U.S.’ fifth-largest airline and make JetBlue — a company Christie said is fearful of ultra-low-cost competition — less relevant in the marketplace.

We conclude today looking at the events industry’s commitment to sustainability. A new report reveals that the industry, despite making significant pledges to conduct greener business, has been slow to take concrete action, writes Contributor Eileen Wennekers.

The events industry made a commitment to fight climate change as part of a Net Zero Carbon Events pledge signed at last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. But a report by the Global Business Travel Association and software company Cvent finds the industry’s promises are a long way from being fulfilled. Only 14 percent of survey respondents in the report believe the events industry has made progress regarding sustainability.

The study found that while more than half of the companies surveyed have organization-wide carbon reduction targets, only 23 percent reported having specific targets for business travel. Just 9 percent had a target for company-hosted meetings and events.

Wennekers cites the lack of concrete targets in meeting and travel programs stem from a lack of tools for tracking emissions. While close to 60 percent of respondents said their company’s travel programs track emissions from flights, only 35 percent said their company tracks emissions from other forms of transport.

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Tags: coronavirus recovery, jetblue airways, skift podcast, spirit airlines