Just when we were starting to think about summer travel, encouraged by the leniency airlines have been showing regarding itinerary changes and flight cancellations due to pandemic unpredictability, those frustrating fees are making a comeback.
According to Travel Pulse, Alaska, Delta, and United airlines all reinstated “non-changeable and non-refundable fares” on basic economy tickets at the beginning of the month. American Airlines is also walking back its fare flexibility for basic economy passengers, exempting change fees for international flights departing anywhere outside of North and South America except Asia. This courtesy will be revoked at the end of May. And while it’s still showing leniency for the time being, JetBlue is similarly slated to rescind its accommodating policies on May 31.
Airlines restoring their money-making fees is unlikely to stop travelers from taking their long overdue summer trips this year. But it does make the prospect of flying during the pandemic more stressful. The good news is that travelers can still find fully refundable vacation deals through services like Travelzoo, whether that means cruising around Croatia or escaping to a spa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The better news is that many of these trips not only offer cancellation flexibility but also unreal discounts, like the chance to stay at a luxurious beach resort in Koh Phangan, Thailand, for almost 50 percent off.
As summer travel rebounds with restrictions lessening and more Americans getting vaccinated by the day, there’s no reason to let fees we were already accustomed to put a damper on our trip planning. Just be sure to triple-check the fine print before booking your next flight.