Post Coronavirus Study: Will Airline Prices Go Up?

by Miles Jackson

How cheap is it to fly right now? Many fares are unrealistically cheap. Qantas is offering $19 fares if you don’t want real COVID19 safety measures. American Airlines featured a Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale non-stop flight for $35 round-trip. That fare was matched by other major US carriers. At the same time, we are seeing images of flights getting crowded again, like this video of a crowded American Airlines flight indicating no social distancing was observed onboard. The TSA tells us that airport security screenings are increasing. Now, travelers are asking will airline prices go up after coronavirus?

International Fares are looking very good as well. I just picked up a Seattle to Ireland fare in Air Canada’s Business Class on their Boeing 787! You can also get the same deal if you click here and PointMe’s partner ticketing agency can help you get this or many other great international deals. In many cases, you can use your American Express Membership Rewards for the full fare!

Will Airline Prices Go Up?

So when can we fly? That’s one of the most frequent questions I get asked these days. Schedules are currently greatly reduced from pre-COVID19 levels. Recent reports say the major US carriers are planning on bringing back some of their parked planes into service as early as June.

The next question I get asked is if these great fares will disappear once air travel picks up. My answer is probably not, at least in the short-term. The fact of the matter is airlines have been losing a lot of cash during the downturn. In fact, the expectation for many carriers is revenues will drop up to 95% in May. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said they’re operating at less than 5% capacity. American Airlines is losing $70 million a day during coronavirus pandemic.

We should expect the airlines to use lower fares, mileage promotions, great award inventory, and flash sales as incentives to lure back consumers into the habit of getting on planes.

Competition of the Century – Bargains Ahead!

I have done some extensive fare research on many popular routes – past, present and future. I’ve laid out my analysis into a chart demonstrating the trends of these fares.

Future Airlines Fares After Coronavirus Scatter Chart

Will airline prices go up? Not for a while it seem…

There is definitely a bias towards lower fares immediately ahead, clearly reflecting the low demand for international travel at the moment. However, as countries begin to open up, we should see demand increase. It is likely that airlines will want to provide great deals to lure travelers back onto their airplanes. Every country is basically standing at the same start line and waiting for the race to begin. In this case, the race is for tourist dollars!

If you want to speculate now with some great fare offers that you are comfortable with, here are a few tips.

Book Tickets with Waived Change Fees

Make sure your airline will waive the change fees if you need to change your plans. Normally, these charges can be as high as $200 per ticket on American, Delta and United. In this case allowing a free change (or no waiver fee) allows you to rebook your trip (in most cases) into 2021 – and in some cases 2022.

RELATED POST: Award Ticket Change Fee Waivers by Airline

Find Great Deals & Mileage Run Opportunities

Juicy Miles can assist with both of these. Most loyalty programs are allowing for extended elite status qualification periods through 2021, presenting an interesting opportunity to earn status with low fares now. The service offers ways around those huge spend requirements (think American’s EQD’s, Delta’s MQM’s and United’s PQF’s) and has been featured in the Washington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, and The Points Guy.

Given the low fares we’re seeing, it could be an oportune time to gain elite status for the rest of 2020 and into the first of 2022 for many airline programs. Read about this airline which even lets you gift airline status for free right now!

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1 comment

Christian May 23, 2020 - 5:25 pm

Interesting stuff. I do think it’s a bit of the chicken-or-the-egg situation between low capacity and low revenue. No airline wants to run a bunch of empty planes but it’s tough to earn revenue if the planes are on the ground.


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