More Americans pay up to get out

The outbound non-stop air passenger market grew 6 percent from March 2009 to March 2010, reflecting a 3 percent gain for the first quarter year-over-year. An estimated 3.3 million people hopped flights from the United States in March this year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, with the total reaching 8.6 million for the first three months.

Air travel to all international markets ticked higher from March to March, except Mexico, which was flat. The Caribbean, Asia, Canada, the Middle East, Oceania and Africa posted double-digit gains. For the first quarter, outbound passenger traffic from the United States grew in five of the eight international markets – Oceana, the Middle East and Africa showed double-digit gain.

More and more people are flying, and the trend is picking up steam, as evidenced by the fact that the March growth rate was higher than that for the first quarter.

And, we’re spending more money on these flights. U.S. travelers on foreign carriers spent $2.3 billion in March 2010, up 8 percent from March 2009.