Airfares are really dropping right now in a lot of markets. I just priced a trip to Los Angeles with prices running $48 each way from Austin for most flights. These aren’t basic economy fares, these are regular economy fares with no change fees.
We can go through all of the reasons for this –
- the traditional drying up of leisure travel starting in the second half of August
- compounded by rapid spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, and concern over breakthrough infections
- business travel, which usually comes in to replace leisure, not coming back as quickly as airlines had expected earlier
- airline schedules – supply of seats – remain bulked up based on earlier signals of travel resurgence
There are simply too many seats chasing too few passengers right now and that’s driving down price. And that means many tickets that have already been purchased would be less expensive if you were buying them today.
The great news is that with no change fees for non-basic economy tickets (Delta is even more generous than this through end of year) you can get a credit back when prices fall on tickets you’ve already purchased – but you have to stay vigilant!
I just repriced tickets for travel over the next several weeks and fares have dropped $50 and $150 respectively. Pocketing $200 back in vouchers for future travel is worth the hassle of cancelling and rebooking. With no change fees you can apply the credit from one trip to another trip – even if that other trip is exactly the same.
Airlines knew this was coming. That’s why United’s initial policy, when they led the elimination of change fees, was that you couldn’t keep the difference in fare when using a voucher towards a less expensive ticket. However optics and competitive pressure, when other airlines copied the elimination of change fees without this restriction, even forced United to loosen up.
Reprice those airline tickets! Reprice your hotels too, and your rental cars. I’m allergic to prepaid, non-cancellable bookings unless the difference in cost is truly substantial. AutoSlash.com and HotelSlash.com will help automate your car and hotel price tracking, by the way.