"Depression Market" Pricing for Fall and Next Year’s Travel

16:36 March 26, 2020
By: Raissi Bysiewicz

Amid the global pandemic, airfare deals are better than ever before! Indeed, customers may purchase round trip tickets from Boston to Orlando in mid-June for $41 (including fees); from Philadelphia to Las Vegas for $73; and from New York to Los Angeles for $177. If that's not enticing enough, international flights from San Fransisco to London during the late summer and early fall are currently just $345! Of course, it is important to resist traveling during the coronavirus simply because fares are inexpensive. However, bargain flights booked months in advance may be worth the risk. Due to significant uncertainty within the airline and lodging industries, it is wise to avoid scheduling abroad trips for a while. Still, one might consider making reservations for the holidays or next summer if they intend to book luxury hotels, small ship expeditions, or safaris which would otherwise be sold out years in advance.

Desperate for more business, several travel firms are offering depression-market pricing through the fall and into next year. Likewise, first-class hotels are waiving prepayment and cancellation penalties, as well as providing fourth-and fifth-night free deals. Nevertheless, many consumers are too worried about employment or investment losses to imagine book airfare or accommodations right now. According to Rick Seaney, chief executive of 3Victor, domestic flight sales are down about 36% compared to this time last year. This pattern holds for international airfare over the summer and fall.

Seaney warns that international trip reservations may turn into loans to airlines as overseas travel bans could continue for months. Although travel agencies are presently withholding cancellation charges, individuals' tickets will still be converted into temporary vouchers if plans change. Further, at the time that they do rebook, their seats will likely cost more money and they will be obligated to pay the difference. Alternatively, domestic tickets have a higher probability of paying off. The notorious New York City to Los Angeles route is selling for less than $200, a price virtually unheard of in 30 years. Experts anticipate that deals such as this will persist well into an economic rebound. As Seaney has stated, "consumers are going to have the best stick for months, if not quarters."

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