COV19 has taken us all for a swirl no matter your opinion or thoughts on the actual virus itself. Kids are starting school from home even when some are unable to read the emails or assignments while other families struggle to put food on the table. Some are handling this sudden change in a positive manner while others struggle to go another day. This pandemic has somehow changed all of us whether we want to admit it or not.
Since COV19, airline tickets have dropped in price which people noticed right away. I mean Charlotte to Japan for less than $400 or Miami to a handful of Caribbean islands for less than $150. I couldn't even tell you how many times Matt has walked through the front door after working all day and I start blurting out all the tickets I want to buy. Every day I find a new deal that leaves me speechless. But as the days go on, the more I notice the changes with flight schedules, operating cities/airline and so much more!
In March, searching for flights at the start of the coronavirus was normal with no real changes except the cheaper prices. In April, I was supposed to go to Las Vegas for a travel blog convention, but the convention was canceled followed by my hotel room days later. Las Vegas shut down like many other places, cities, and countries which left airline companies battling with how to survive this drastic change. An industry built on people traveling coming to a standstill halt which unfortunately some couldn't bounce back from. Other than the airline companies, the pandemic forced the travel industry to make changes that are still being implemented to this day. Talk about a hard hit!!
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5 months into everything, I am here to say there are changes you should keep an eye out on. I hope this helps you search for flights, avoid any headaches with cancellations or in any way that fits your travel life. I have been watching flights just like I did in April with spending hours seeing what's out there. (And I have even purchased tickets for some of my upcoming trips.)
The biggest difference I have seen with some airline companies are flight schedules being updated weekly. And I mean dramatic updates!! For the last few weeks, I have been keeping a close eye on tickets to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and saw dates extending out until 2021. However, when I looked last night at some of the same companies I looked at just 2 days ago, the dates only extended until next month. Odd, right?
Another difference I have noticed with flight schedules is the days the flights will be operating and the consistency it has month over month. Or should I say lack of...Meaning in August I may see flights to Miami from Charlotte and those are operating on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, but the following month seems to have full availability. I am providing screenshots below from Frontier Airlines which was the first company I noticed making the changes.
Once I noticed this, I started to look at flights for only days that are commonly used to operate flights. If someone came to me with the above screenshots and asked my opinion on when they should fly, I would recommend sticking to Sunday and Thursday if possible based on the September schedule. In my opinion, it reduces the chances of your flight being canceled. Or that thought gives me peace of mind when searching.
Earlier I mentioned how travel dates are being extended into 2021 which is another change I have seen. From what I could tell before COV19, companies were only releasing future dates for the next 4-6 months. For some airline companies, they have even released their future dates all the way up until the middle of 2021. Now, will they operate on all the days they offer, probably not, but I wonder how much of this is done to try and foresee what traveling will look like next year.
Another trend you will notice pretty quickly if you haven't already is to expect for layovers. I am a fan of cheap direct flights, however, those seem almost rare right now. And there are talks of more airlines stopping routes to cities. For example, American Airlines is dropping down to only operating from 15 cities vs. 95 cities. So I can only imagine the layover times may increase if more companies follow American Airlines. If the layover hours weren't so drastic like 16 hours then some of the deals would be worth it. I have thought of making a day trip out of that 16-hour layover, but with TSA times being increased in certain airports and stores still being closed doesn't seem worth leaving the airport right now.