Jesse here, Founder at Dollar Flight Club! Not to be confused with Dollar 'Fight' Club...not supposed to talk about that anyway since that's rule #1 of fight club :)

We recently released an industry report about the future of the Airfare industry in the post coronavirus world. It's been widely covered by the press over the last couple of weeks and we've been getting tons of questions about it, so thought Reddit would be a great place to answer them. I'm relatively new to Reddit and excited to be here to share/discuss the future of travel post COVID-19 with everyone.

Background on Company:

We help over 1 million members travel more and save $$$ on international and domestic flights. Dollar Flight Club has been around for more than 3 years and here's some proof that a few people find what we do and say useful :) Recent Media: CNN, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR Magazine Forbes, Fodors, and The Points Guy to name a few.

Our team focuses on international and domestic flight deals from and within the United States. We also serve international deals from departure airports in Europe, South America, and Australia.

Proof it's me: https://twitter.com/DollarFlights/status/1258552639748370432

Industry Report:

Late last month, we put together detailed studies on the COVID-19 impact on the airline industry and airfare prices based on data from post 9/11 and the Great Recession as well as the Impact on Consumer Travel Demand where we surveyed 20,000 of our 1 million members.

Here are some high-level takeaways:

  • Airfare prices will decrease by 35% on average through 2021 and then sharply increase 27% on average (above 2019 levels) through 2025 as demand rebounds.
  • Two major US carriers will merge in 2021, further consolidating control of the market.
  • Even though facing fewer flight options, travelers will benefit from less flight delays and cancellations.
  • Over 40% of travelers will only travel domestically through the end of 2020 due to the outbreak.
  • The #1 domestic destination for Christmas/NYE travel is Hawaii.
  • The #1 international destination for Christmas/NYE travel is Paris.
  • much more...

Before we get started, I want to make it clear that I'm definitely not here to condone travel until it's absolutely safe to do so. Rather, I'm here to discuss the future of travel or anything travel-related you have on your mind.

I can’t wait to answer your questions on the studies and discuss live with the help of my Dollar Flight Club team, starting around 10am PST!

Stay safe!

-Jesse

------------

QUICK UPDATE at 2pm PST! - Loving all these questions and comments coming in! Thanks to everyone for chiming in here. Taking a 10 minute snack and coffee break and I'll be back. Keep the questions coming travel friends...

UPDATE at 3pm PST! - Still at it! Keep those questions coming. Just made myself an Espresso shot or 3 to keep cranking through these. If you have any questions about finding cheap flights as well, let me know... I'll be here for a while answering!

UPDATE at 4pm PST! - You guys are the best! Travel is my passion and discussing it with you all is giving me hope for the future of the industry. Please keep it coming! Would also love to hear the best deals you've ever booked :)

UPDATE at 4:30pm PST! - Still here answering all your questions! Would also love to hear the best deals you've ever booked :)

UPDATE at 5:20pm PST! - taking a 10 minute coffee break and so my typing fingers don't die on me. Keep the questions coming! I'll BRB friends.

UPDATE at 5:30pm PST! - back and caffeinated! Keep the questions coming...

UPDATE at 6pm PST! - taking a quick dinner break! Be back in a few to answer more questions. Don't worry, I'm working my way through them all :)

UPDATE at 7pm PST! - Back from dinner and ready to answer more questions! I'll be here for the next few hours

UPDATE at 8pm PST! - Still here answering away! I'll be here for the next hour or so. If I don't get to your question tonight, I'll be back on the morning to finish up! Thank-you so much everyone!

UPDATE at 8:30pm PST! - Logging off to get some sleep and to rest these typing fingers. I'll be back in the morning to answer any questions I didn't get to today or any new ones that come in! Thank-you everyone for joining me!

UPDATE at 9:45am PST! - Back online this morning to finish up answering your questions! Got some rest and some coffee in hand.

UPDATE at 11:30am PST! - Thank-you to everyone who joined us over the past few days! Time to log off for me. It was loads of fun! If you ever need anything or have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message.

Comments: 777 • Responses: 74  • Date: 

jorge234 karma

The 2nd largest airline in Latin America just declared bankruptcy

What are the chances for other airlines? If you buy a ticket now and they go bankrupt, how do you recover your losses? (E.g. trip insurance? Does it cover it?)

JesseNeugarten129 karma

trip insurance?

I recommend booking travel insurance to protect youself in the near term. COVID-19 isn’t going away right away, so everyone will want to be covered if they get sick abroad or airlines go under.

Bankruptcy of a travel provider is covered by most providers...just make sure to double-check with the provider you go with.

I also think booking future travel with major US carriers like Delta or American airlines is your safest bet if you're worried at all.

F4thu9 karma

What about government subsidised carriers like the middle eastern airlines? Or European 'save bets' like Lufthansa, turkish or KLM?

JesseNeugarten5 karma

Yes, definitely! i was just referring to US based.

ArmedandUnreal129 karma

My fiancée was supposed to be coming to Europe this month which is obviously not happening now. Do you have any more information regarding when international travel will return as someone so active in the industry? It’s frustrating not knowing when we will see each other.

JesseNeugarten127 karma

100% agree with you that it's frustrating!

I think we can expect international travel to Europe from the US to open back up in September.

Did your fiance rebook her flight yet? Let me know if you guys need help.

aham4230 karma

I think we can expect international travel to Europe from the US to open back up in September.

Out of curiosity: why? That particular date is right on the edge of flu season and a likely uptick in Covid cases.

JesseNeugarten41 karma

It's a combination of a few things. I think the most important aspect here is that airlines and countries will have the technology and process in place to better test, track, and trace the virus.

limbomaniac9 karma

Is it better to rebook or cancel? We've got a flight to France still scheduled for 28 May, but it's not showing up on United's site anymore. We usually fly Delta and my inclination is to just cancel unless there's a compelling reason not to.

AverageAndNotJoe24 karma

If you cancel the flight, your only option is to accept flight credit from United. If United cancels your flight you can get your money back.

limbomaniac4 karma

We were booked for ATL-IAD, then IAD-CDG. The IAD-CDG leg is cancelled, it doesn't look like United is flying to France at all right now. That means we can get a refund, right?

JesseNeugarten5 karma

Yes, 100%. Have you tried to call the airline to request the full refund? If you need help, let us know.

999Sepulveda84 karma

How soon after travel bans are lifted will ticket prices rose?

JesseNeugarten140 karma

Based on our recent study, airfare prices will decrease by 35% on average through 2021 and then sharply increase 27% on average (above 2019 levels) through 2025 as demand rebounds. We recommend booking deals as they pop up now because airlines are offering free change and cancellations for any travel booked in the future. As an example, for 2020/21 holiday (Christmas/NYE) and summer flights, historically low fares up to 65% off were available as of this week.

  • Los Angeles to London - $329 roundtrip
  • Los Angeles to Barcelona - $303 roundtrip
  • Chicago to Paris - $278 roundtrip
  • Chicago to Buenos Aires - $378 roundtrip

cinosa60 karma

Los Angeles to London - $329 roundtrip

Los Angeles to Barcelona - $303 roundtrip

Chicago to Paris - $278 roundtrip

Chicago to Buenos Aires - $378 roundtrip

Jesus H Christ, I can't even fly from the east coast of Canada to the middle of the country for those prices! Certainly not all the way to the other coast. We're getting horribly ripped off :(

JesseNeugarten11 karma

haha Canada is generally expensive :( Hoping that those fares drop for all of you.

axiomSD27 karma

would make more sense to board back to front no?

JesseNeugarten49 karma

yep, 100%. I think I had a typo there. Nice catch.

Airlines are also experimenting with rapid COVID-19 tests before boarding as well.

jostler5715 karma

How far out can one purchase a ticket? Could I, say, buy a ticket for international travel 2 years in advance, to save the money, now? Or, what's the furthest out one can buy?

(assume it's from an airline that won't go disappear)

JesseNeugarten28 karma

hey! At the moment, you can book all the way out to April 2021.

jostler5719 karma

That was last month... you mean 2021?

JesseNeugarten3 karma

yep! Nice catch.

Irben13 karma

If memory serves, airlines only post schedules 12 months in advance and i don’t believe you can book any further out than that.

JesseNeugarten2 karma

100%.

Do you have a trip booked for 2020? Curious to hear

JesseNeugarten2 karma

At the moment you can book up to April 2021...

When are you looking to travel? Europe or Asia?

JesseNeugarten24 karma

Do you have a trip booked for 2020? Curious to hear

Nativesince201120 karma

I had a bunch. All cancelled.

JesseNeugarten20 karma

same here :( I had Greece and Austria booked for this summer which my wife and I had to cancel.

Where was your trip to? Hopefully you find a deal for that trip so you can take it later in the year. You can probably find a better deal with flexible cancellation now than when you booked it...

trckdsd10 karma

We had a big trip booked but was cancelled, now we're thinking we wait a full year because we still want to do it in the warmer months.

How do you think refund policies going to look April/May of next year?

JesseNeugarten13 karma

same here :( I had Greece and Austria booked for this summer which my wife and I had to cancel.

If you book your flight in the next few months or so (check each airline for the exact cut off date), it's essentially "risk free booking" at a time that airfare is the cheapest we've seen over the past 20 years. We recommend booking these deals as they pop up now because airlines are offering free change and cancellations for any travel booked in the future. If the flight is cancelled, you are entitled for a refund per US Law.

As an example, for 2020/21 holiday (Christmas/NYE) and summer flights, historically low fares up to 65% off were available as of Monday this week.

  • London - $329 roundtrip
  • Barcelona - $303 roundtrip
  • Paris - $278 roundtrip
  • Buenos Aires - $378 roundtrip

Where is your trip for next year?

IamBananaRod3 karma

Not booked, but every summer my oldest nephew comes and spends summer with us, the plane ticket is right now 7 timer higher what it used to cost before the virus. No trip this year.

JesseNeugarten5 karma

sorry to hear that!

Which route are you looking for? Our team would love to help!

danstheman72 karma

Greece was booked in April, ended up rescheduling with Delta for free to Mid-September.

JesseNeugarten11 karma

awesome!

Delta has separated itself from the pack over the past few months to show the world how much they care about customers during the COVID-19 pandemic by pushing back the validity of travel vouchers from canceled trips so that customers can use them up to 2 years later, while all other major airlines offer 1 year.

In addition, they have:

  • Extended elite status for a year and allow rollover of any MQMs from 2020 into 2021.
  • Waiving award ticket fees the same way they treat paid tickets American: waiving the fee for travel through May 31,2020 United: waiving it for flights departing before May 31, 2020

Even before COVID-19, Delta led the way when it came to refunding the difference when airfare prices drop after a customer books. If you booked directly with Delta, and you find tickets at least $10 lower on any other U.S.–based travel website, then they will refund you the difference and provide you with a $100 voucher for your next flight booking.

Florida2k162 karma

I have a trip planned for Cancun at the end of September but I have not booked my flight yet

JesseNeugarten6 karma

Cancun is fun!

I recommend booking the flight now if you see a great deal in the $100's or $200's roundtrip. That's what our team is seeing at the moment from US airports.

crypto_knight161 karma

will the loading order on planes change?

JesseNeugarten157 karma

Yes, most definitely!

Airlines are expected to lose up to $312 billion, according to the IATA. With such a tremendous strain on the industry today, airlines will have to adapt drastically to restore profitability and gain back customers' trust once travel demand rebounds over the next 5 years.

One of those changes is boarding the plane back to front to decrease exposure to other people as they walk down the plane. This will be especially impactful on narrow-body planes.

HaCo111159 karma

How will the people in first class react to the poors sitting in cattle class boarding before them?

JesseNeugarten10 karma

Good question :) I'm sure there will be a few people who aren't too happy about it, but at the end of the day it comes down to safety.

I think all of us travelers want the travel industry to get back to the "new normal" as soon as it's safe to do so for ourselves and for those who depend on tourism. I believe people will be more so understanding than upset...

On long haul international flights that use bigger planes, they will still be able to board first/business class (depending on the configuration) first because the boarding gate connects just behind that first cabin. This will mostly impact shorter flights...

Do you have a trip booked for this year in BIZ/First class?

takeabreather12 karma

This is both a good thing and a bad thing for frequent fliers like myself. I very rarely check a bag and try to keep my time spend at airports to as short as possible (often times arriving at the airport with only 20-30 minutes until boarding because I have Clear and Pre-Check). There will have to be carry-on restrictions placed on more ticket levels to ensure that those with status and premium ticket levels can still bring carry-ons.Until that is ironed out, I wouldn't be surprised if I have to gate check my bags more frequently.

JesseNeugarten13 karma

100% agreed. I think you and I are quite similar on a few of those points.

I'm quite certain that carry on bag fee's will increase across the board this year as travel demand starts to rebound. I also wouldn't be surprised if airlines forced passengers to check all bags expect a small backpack or purse to limit the amount of time it takes you to get from the front of the plane into your seat...this should help limit passenger contact during boarding.

I would also assume that you and I will need to arrive at the airport much earlier when travel is back :)

JesseNeugarten2 karma

Do you plan to take a trip later this year? Interested to hear!

MSamurai2 karma

I have booked a flight to the Philippines on October 5th. I got travel insurance just in case of a cancellation through my 3rd party agent, and I plan on getting rescheduling or getting a voucher instead of asking for a refund. I've heard that refunds are taking 2-3 months to honor, so it's just easier to re-book for the beginning of 2021.

JesseNeugarten2 karma

That's a smart move! I think refunds depend on the carrier you've booked with.

Our DFC members have reported refunds taking as short as a week in some cases.

Which airline?

cryolems56 karma

Hey! I work in aviation and am curious about your comment about two major airlines merging in 2021 - any lore details there?

Additionally - we have vouchers thru United that expire in August 2020 - are things such as this being refunded or extended?

JesseNeugarten32 karma

hey! Thanks for your question!

I think we'll see American and United merge in the near term if we're talking about the major US carriers.

In terms of your travel vouchers: I would call the airline asap and ask them to extend the voucher. DFC members have asked this question often over the past month or so and have been successful when they give the airlines a call.

When did you get the vouchers?

FlapsFail93 karma

I’m a pilot for a major legacy airline here in the states- saying AA and UA will merge in 2021 is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard on reddit in a long time.

IMO, this discredits any “insight” that you claim to have on the industry.

Read with a grain of salt fellow redditors. We don’t even know what the next couple of months holds in the industry, much less the next 5 years.

JesseNeugarten14 karma

I don't feel that it's ridiculous. I think it's quite possible.

Mind diving into your reasoning? Would love to hear!

jostler5747 karma

How do you feel about the stock prices for airlines over the next 2, 5 and 7 years?

JesseNeugarten24 karma

I think prices will stay relatively steady over the next few months and then rebound quickly towards the end of 2020 and into 2021 as travel demand rebounds.

I'm not an expert on the stock market (graduated in Economics), but I think today is the best time to invest in airlines you believe it. In my opinion, the biggest risk is airlines going out of business. I think the one to bet on is Delta.

jostler5730 karma

the biggest risk is airlines going out of business. I think the one to bet on is Delta.

Just to be super clear, you're saying Delta has the best chance of doing well, correct?

Placing that "bet on" phrase after talking about going out of business could instead make it sound like betting on it to fail.

JesseNeugarten2 karma

yep! exactly.

Do you think it's not a good bet?

fruitninja77734 karma

In another answer, you said that you expect demand to pick up in June for domestic travel and September for international. Do you personally think that this will hold true?

JesseNeugarten49 karma

Yes, I do. Based on our members over the past few weeks, Domestic and International bookings are starting to pick up as countries and states start easing restrictions.

In terms of traveling to Europe for the summer, Greece is set to be the first country to open up on July 1st to tourists. I think that will hold true and we can expect to see a large uptick in travelers to Greece and other parts of Europe in September.

Do you have a trip booked for 2020? International or domestic?

fruitninja77716 karma

In August I'm planning on going to college in Missouri, but everything is super unpredictable and dependant on the coronavirus.

JesseNeugarten9 karma

so sorry to hear that! Things are definitely unpredictable but domestic travel should open up here soon as soon as it's safe.

chasing__bubbles9 karma

Hi, Greece here! Thank you for this very informative post.

Greece is indeed set to open to tourists on July 1st. Since You said that US is likely to open international travel on September, does that mean that my boyfriend won’t be able to visit me? (Or me him?)

Technically there are still flights (with odd connections) that can get you from SFO to Greece even right now. Also, there are flight offers from many airlines for mid July from Greece to San Fransisco, should I not have my hopes up for them?

JesseNeugarten3 karma

No problem!

There are flights available at the moment, but only US citizens can travel into the US. In addition, only EU citizens can travel into the EU which is the main issue here.

Once those restrictions are taken down, hopefully in September, you should be able to take the trip!

What specific dates are you looking at?

dontsaveher8421 karma

When do you think “Covid-free” islands in the Pacific will open up to travel?

JesseNeugarten15 karma

I hope soon:) I love those islands...some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

I think those islands will open around September 2020 as long as they don't have any surge in local infections. They rely heavily on tourism and need to open up safely as soon as possible to save the economy.

If you have a trip booked, expect to get a rapid COVID-19 test on arrival before they let you onto the island.

Do you have aa trip booked? which island?

ChicityShimo14 karma

You mention airlines merging, which do you think is most likely?

JesseNeugarten10 karma

I think American and United are the most likely when we're talking about major carriers in the United States.

NW_Islander11 karma

which airlines have brought the most deals, to increase ticket sales?

JesseNeugarten20 karma

Tap Portugal and American Airlines have had the best deals over the past few weeks from the US to across Europe in the $200s/$300s roundtrip.

lesliejohnson12429 karma

When you copied Scott's Cheap Flights' emails 100%, did you just think people here wouldn't notice?

JesseNeugarten9 karma

hey!

Definitely no copying here...those guys have a great solution if you're only looking for international flight deals from the US. Our service is actually quite different...

We have a much more robust service that offers international flight deals from the US, Canada, Europe, South America, and Australia. We also offer domestic flight deals within the United States for weekend getaways. Not to mention, you get insider discounts with other brands as part of your membership. Plus, you can get Business/First Class flight deals as well. You can learn more here:

https://www.afar.com/magazine/finally-a-flight-deal-service-for-domestic-weekend-getaways https://www.fodors.com/news/deals/how-to-find-cheap-flights-and-discounts-on-fodors-guidebooks

And if flights are not your thing we just launched our product solution in the hotel space (The Hotel Project by Dollar Flight Club)

Here if you have any other questions!

defroach848 karma

Any US based carriers offering free full refunds for booking international trips for late this year? Meaning, if I book a flight in November, will I be able to get a full refund if things don't look perfect for my travel?

JesseNeugarten11 karma

This is a great question!

Airlines will only be required to give you a full cash refund if the flight is canceled by them or due to travel restrictions.

If you book the flight now for November and you don't want to take the trip or simply want to postpone it, you can get a travel voucher from the airlines or change the dates free of charge. (Usually costs $200+ to change flights)

Here's some more info that might help - https://dollarflightclub.com/coronavirus_news/how-to-book-a-new-flight-with-free-change-cancellation-during-the-covid-19-outbreak

Bandsohard8 karma

I've never gone on a vacation somewhere. Not that I can't afford it, but I've never gotten around to it. Didn't ever go as a kid, couldn't afford to in college, and now for the past few years it felt a bit weird to do so.

I was thinking to go to a conference or two in National Parks this year as a vacation, but the ones I had in mind were cancelled.

Where do you recommend?

JesseNeugarten8 karma

National Park trips this year is a great idea!

I've been to tons of them over the years and I definitely recommend Yosemite National Park and Zion National park as must-sees.

What part of the country do you live in? I can give you a better recommendation for one you can drive to.

peenrun3037 karma

In terms of lower risk booking at the end of 2020, are cancellations/changes beholden on the airlines to make the decision to cancel the flight or will consumers be able to make these decisions dependent on their comfort level with the status of things?

I know southwest has a good change flight policy in general, but wondering if this same low risk booking is available for international travel. I know these industries don't want to be responsible for a resurgence but I don't think it's a farfetched idea to say profit motivated companies are more inclined to not act until the last possible moment a country shuts down travel, when in a lot of cases that is well after its not safe to travel.

JesseNeugarten11 karma

This is a really valid question! Happy to answer.

Major carriers are waiving change fees on bookings made through May 31, 2020 which allows a change or travel voucher to your travel for one year from date of purchase.

That means if you want to cancel and get a credit/change it's 100% up to you.

However, if you're looking for a full cash refund, the airline will need to cancel the flight.

Which airiine do you usually go with?

kyle_knightmare7 karma

Hi Jesse,

If one were to take advantage of the lower flight prices, what dates would you shoot for to get a good price without a high chance of having to cancel flights? or is it too soon to know?

Thank you!

JesseNeugarten12 karma

At the moment, booking travel for late summer and Thanksgiving/Christmas/NYE is your best bet. Our members are taking advantage of deeply discounted fares to Europe and South America for those dates because airlines are offering extremely flexible change/cancellation options for all flights booked, essentially allowing travelers to book “risk free”. The worst-case scenario is that your flight is canceled, but you would get a full refund from the airlines as it’s mandated by US law.

Where are you looking to travel to this year? Any bucket list destinations?

chooseusernameeeeeee6 karma

Any plans on expanding your scope to CAD deals? Only thing keeping me back from signing up for premium.

JesseNeugarten5 karma

We do serve CAD deals!

You can check it out here on our home page.

We serve US cities and numerous international departure regions as well...

JesseNeugarten3 karma

We do serve CAD deals!

Which departure airport are you referring to?

JesseNeugarten4 karma

UPDATE at 5:20pm PST! - taking a 10 minute coffee break and so my typing fingers don't die on me. Keep the questions coming! I'll BRB friends.

i_Love_Big_Butts4 karma

I have a trip planned in late July/early August to Cancun. Flying from LAX. Should I expect this trip to be cancelled or will it still happen?

JesseNeugarten4 karma

Cancun is a lot of fun!

I think you can expect this trip to be canceled. I would just wait on it for a bit and if it's canceled rebook for later this year once you get a full refund.

Which airline did you book through? or did you use a 3rd party site like Expedia?

throwawayFIREaug20194 karma

So is it just a coincidence that your emails look *exactly* like Scott's Cheap Flights and conveniently happen to arrive about 2-3 hours after his?

Guarantee he'll conveniently avoid answering this question.

JesseNeugarten5 karma

Definitely not going to avoid this question! I'm here to respond to everything...

Those guys have a great product for international flight deals from the US. I can't speak to your comment that "happen to arrive about 2-3 hours after his?."

We use technology to help pull flight deals from a handful of flight aggregators (ex. momondo, skyscanner, etc.) so it's very likely we have overlap on some deals. We don't monitor other solutions in our space, we're focused on providing more value to our customers by expanding our product solutions based on our customers needs. We have a much more robust service that offers international flight deals from the US, Canada, Europe, South America, and Australia. We also offer domestic flight deals within the United States for weekend getaways. Not to mention, you get insider discounts with other brands as part of your membership. Plus, you can get Business/First Class flight deals as well.

And if flights are not your thing we just launched our product solution in the hotel space (The Hotel Project by Dollar Flight Club)

Hope that answers your q!

JesseNeugarten3 karma

UPDATE at 3pm PST! - Still at it! Keep those questions coming. Just made myself an Espresso shot or 3 to keep cranking through these. If you have any questions about finding cheap flights as well, let me know... I'll be here for a while answering!

ohhaijustme3 karma

What is your best guess as to when Hawai’i will open up to tourists? Can’t believe they have to literally shelter in their room for 14 days, not leaving for anything.

JesseNeugarten2 karma

I think Hawaii will open up July 1st.

Do you have a trip booked there this summer?

RexyaCSGO3 karma

Which international routes are likely to open first? Obviously some of this dependent on what happens with the virus in each country, but whats your thoughts.

JesseNeugarten3 karma

There are still numerous routes operating today, even though the planes are almost empty.

Just in the last few weeks we’ve seen a major uptick in Dollar Flight Club members booking travel for later this year. Over 80% of the bookings have been to Hawaii and Paris for Christmas/New Years trips since airfare is at an all time low for those destinations during peak season. Our members are taking advantage of the airlines free change/cancellation policies and are eager to travel again as all their summer plans have essentially been cancelled. Travel demand is starting to pick back up.

We recently ran a study where we surveyed our most active members to learn where they wanted to travel post COVID-19. Here are the top destinations where we’ll see the most travelers over the next year:

International:

  1. Paris
  2. London
  3. Rome
  4. Barcelona
  5. Bali
  6. Amsterdam

Domestic:

  1. Hawaii
  2. New York
  3. Los Angeles
  4. San Diego
  5. Alaska
  6. Portland

smecky3 karma

Hey, thanks for answering all of the questions. I've got a selfish question, but others may relate. We've a holiday booked for September 21st from Ireland to Florida. What are the chances of this going ahead? Our travel agent hasn't been able to give us much information. Any advice would be appreciated.

JesseNeugarten3 karma

I think you should be good to go and have no problems in September.

Where in Florida??

JesseNeugarten3 karma

UPDATE at 4:30pm PST! - Still here answering all your questions! Would also love to hear the best deals you've ever booked :)

PMMEY0URLOVE2 karma

We have paid the total on a package holiday for June and have been offered either a full refund or to postpone it a year with no extra charges, what would our best option be? In Europe btw

JesseNeugarten3 karma

hi! I would get the full refund and try rebook for a cheaper price since fares are 35% lower on average.

Where in Europe?

JesseNeugarten2 karma

UPDATE at 8pm PST! - Still here answering away! I'll be here for the next hour or so. If I don't get to your question tonight, I'll be back on the morning to finish up! Thank-you so much everyone!

mrh05072 karma

Jesse, I actually research flight deals for fun, both domestic and international. The cheapest domestic fare was I booked was $35 RT ISP to MSP. The cheapest international fare I booked was JFK to CDG for $400 RT in July. Are you guys hiring? Is it remote work?

JesseNeugarten2 karma

That's awesome! Yep, we are 100% remote but not hiring right now...

You can learn more about the team and open roles here: https://dollarflightclub.com/about-dollar-flight-club/

Where are you based??

RendezvousK2 karma

Do you think that the decline in the travel industry will lead to any concrete, permanent changes in the way that airlines handle customer service & the sardine like way that travelers are packed into airplanes?

JesseNeugarten4 karma

Unfortunately, no.

I think that airlines will go back to the status quo in general.

However, a few airlines will rise above the crowd here such as delta.

Delta has separated itself from the pack over the past few months to show the world how much they care about customers during the COVID-19 pandemic by pushing back the validity of travel vouchers from cancelled trips so that customers can use them up to 2 years later, while all other major airlines offer 1 year.

crypto_knight12 karma

Are people booking domestic or international mostly.. when are people booking for?

JesseNeugarten4 karma

Doll

Based on our recent study, over 40% of people will only travel domestically due to the outbreak. We expect domestic travel to resume in mid June and international travel to resume in early September. We found that over 60% of our members still feel comfortable traveling during the second half of 2020, if travel restrictions are taken down.

HHS20192 karma

Thanks for doing this. I have a few questions if I may:

  • What suggestions do you have for saving money on international travel in general? For example, does flying out on a specific day (Tuesday) or time (before 0900) increase your odds for lower fares?
  • What progress do you see being made in passengers' rights when they are stuck on a tarmac for hours?
  • What do you think is the best frequent flyer program for both domestic and international carriers?

Thank you.

JesseNeugarten2 karma

Any idea how this will affect people looking in to working holidays? Canadian here thinking of doing a working holiday in Australia in 2021.

Anytime! Happy to answer here.

Let's start with your first question on general tips for finding cheap international fares:

Set up deal alerts:

The better the deal, the shorter it will be available for you to book. Our data suggests that prices can fluctuate up to 135 times per day. We recommend using sites like Google Flights to set up price alerts on specific routes or sign up for fare alert services like Dollar Flight Club.

Book in advance:

Based on our data, the best window to book cheap flights occur 3 weeks to 4 months in advance. Average fare prices tend to rise as the departure date gets closer. Booking on the weekend can be up to 60% cheaper in comparison to Thursdays or Fridays (the most expensive days to book flights).

Fly during the week:

If you have flexibility to fly on a Wednesday, you can save up to 40%. When booking, take advantage of fare calendars to see which days are the cheapest, both for departing and returning flights. Weekdays are the best times to enjoy the shortest security lines and the least amount of delays/cancellations.

Alternative Airports:

One way to save money is to choose a different airport to fly out of or into. Major airports typically offer a lot more competition, which means that airlines are looking to get business by offering lower prices. This is best for saving money, even if it may not always seem more convenient in terms of potential wait times or even travel times.

Act Fast:

Our data suggests that prices can fluctuate up to 135 times per day. If you see a deal to a destination you've been dreaming about, we recommend booking the flight ASAP. If you book a flight directly with an airline, they are required to give you 24 hours to cancel without penalty. You'll get a 100% refund if you decide to cancel and you won't miss out on the deal if you decide to keep the flight.

JesseNeugarten2 karma

QUICK UPDATE at 2pm PST! - Loving all these questions and comments coming in! Thanks to everyone for chiming in here. Taking a 10 minute snack and coffee break and I'll be back. Keep the questions coming travel friends...

SurfNSki231 karma

Hi Jesse,

Love the work you do here! Being the CEO, do you travel frequently? If so, I was wondering if you could share some of your go to travel methods and practices that makes it fun and easy for you? Thanks for all the stellar deals!

JesseNeugarten5 karma

thanks so much! Throughout 2019 I was lucky enough to take some great trips to Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Bali, Singapore, and Costa Rica using the best practices we put in place here at Dollar Flight Club.

My rule of thumb is that if it's a destination I want to go to and the deal is good enough, I book it right away. Airlines have a 24-hour full refund policy if you'd like to cancel which gives me time to decide on taking the trip before fully committing.

maxmaio1 karma

Does the type of airplane have an effect on ticket prices?

JesseNeugarten2 karma

If you look at the airline industry as a whole and the direction airlines are moving by retiring large planes like the 747 and 767 due to COVID-19, the answer is yes. Airlines will significantly cut back on available capacity by reducing the number of flights and routes and in turn flying smaller planes to increase load factor. This will help increase profit and lead to ticket prices increasing.

swush12341 karma

Hi Jesse,

Do you have any input on how the state of award tickets/availability will be?

JesseNeugarten3 karma

hey! great question. This topic has come up quite often over the past few months...

We've seen a decent uptick in airlines that are releasing more deals and availability in terms of award availability. I recommend keeping an eye on the destinations you're looking to travel to later this year because it's highly likely that you'll see a deal there. We tend to see a high correlation with cheaper airfare and more award availability.

However, we've been advising our members to stay away from award ticketing for the next 3-4 months and rather booking with cash because fares are up to 65% off in general in comparison to January 2020. That way you can earn a nice batch of miles for 65% less cost.

For example: Just on Friday we had a deal from the US to Greece for $297 roundtrip and Amsterdam for $210 roundtrip for late 2020.

is there a destination you're looking to explore this year? maybe we can help advise

medguy-151 karma

Do you think the arrangement of the seats on the plane will change? I’ve seen some mockups that show radical new seating structure to make for a “cleaner” flying experience

JesseNeugarten7 karma

Awesome question! I don't think airlines will make the investment to completely revamp seats across their fleet. The cost will be much too high in comparison to taking other low-cost measures that should have a huge impact in terms of creating a cleaner flying experience such as increasing cleaning protocols between flights, requiring face masks, boarding the plane back to front to decrease exposure to other people, keeping middle seats empty, and limiting service on flights to keep flight attendants and passenger interaction as low as possible.

prettydarnfunny5 karma

Are/will they actually keep middle seats open? I’ve seen a few pics on here where they clearly are using middle seats.

JesseNeugarten4 karma

I'm assuming you're talking about United Airlines...they made a huge mistake and I assume it won't happen again.

I was stuck in Finland for my honeymoon during early March when everything started to get shut down. On my flight back to the US when we had to evacuate, I flew Delta, and we were extremely separated on the flight with middle seats blocked off on all the routes.

It's going to come down to the airline you fly and if the Government decides to put laws in place to force airlines to do this.

If I was flying anytime soon, I would stay away from budget carriers like Spirit or Frontier and stick to flying Delta, American, & Jetblue.

Have you taken a flight over the past 3 months?

adeiner1 karma

How long do you think time spent at airports will change? I'm hesitant to book a flight if I'll lose an entire day waiting in lines because we're all six feet apart.

JesseNeugarten1 karma

We should see time at the airport increase by roughly 30%.

The standard recommendation is getting to the airport 2 hours before the flight, but I think that will increase to 3 hours...

Every step of the process is going to take longer while adding in additional steps like COVID-19 tests and disinfectant containers for passengers.

How long do you usually get to the airport before your flight?

d3rtysouth1 karma

How will other illnesses be looked at when traveling? Will we be shamed for having a cold or flu, and be restricted to board with said illnesses?

JesseNeugarten1 karma

Sadly, yes I think that will be the case in the near term.

rakahr11-1 karma

Will the USA stop being the main hub for Travel from/to north america-europe-south america?

The prices for traveling to/from US to any part of the world is incredibly high and unreasonable in comparison to literally any other place of the world.

Will there be any changes to not wait ages in a queue even though one did the digital border control?

JesseNeugarten3 karma

I don't really see that happening because of the pandemic. The US will still be the main hub for the general routes you mentioned, however we can expect changes to where those airline hubs will be and the types of planes they use.

In terms of traveling to/from US to any part of the world, we see fares from larger hubs like LAX, JFK, ORD, & others across the globe at incredible prices like $200 roundtrip to Europe, $300 roundtrip to South America, and $400 roundtrip to Africa to name a few.

Are there specific routes you're referring to?