While some airlines are offering heavily discounted fares in hopes of luring travelers back, Iowans planning a fall fling will find plenty of changes, especially with scheduling. Kyle Potter, the editor for the website ThriftyTravler.com, says airlines have cut the number of flights dramatically.
“Where you might have had a handful of different flight options every day — early morning, mid-morning, a few throughout the afternoon and evening — now that’s usually down to just one or two flights a day no matter where you’re looking to go,” Potter says. “In some cases, you might need to make a connection.”
Potter says it doesn’t hurt to make plans in advance because airlines say they’ll let passengers change flights without paying a big fee. They can also cancel the flight or get a voucher for the value of the ticket, so he says there’s little risk involved in planning ahead.
“If you do book a flight far in advance, odds are it’s going to change between now and whenever you get on the plane,” Potter says. “So certainly it may make sense to be a little bit more nimble, wait until the last minute or definitely expect that the ticket that you booked may not be the flight that you take.”
Another change with the pandemic, masks are now mandatory on all flights. On August 9th, domestic air travel topped 800,000 passengers, the highest number since March 17th. Still, that’s still down 69% from a year ago. Potter says the federal CARES Act is helping airlines cover payroll expenses through September.