Will airfare deals disappear when the pandemic does?

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As of this writing, government authorities are telling most of us to stay home, so there won't be any flights to fun destinations until the all-clear sounds.

Now for the “buts” — you know, the “buts” like, “But airfare is so affordable now, right?” Yes, there are deals, like flights from Orlando to Philadelphia in early June for just $22 roundtrip. But, also, don’t worry. The deals won’t disappear the moment we’re allowed back on planes.

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Keep reading to learn more about airfare trends, along with other ways to prep for a cheap and stress-free vacation in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.

Will deals disappear when the pandemic ends?

No. Airlines understand that after months of social-distancing, it’ll take something pretty special to get people back into the mindset of cramming themselves in planes, so watch for super-deals to be the bait. And don’t worry, these deals will be around for a while.

Airlines are hoping to make flights more attractive to Americans once the guidelines against non-essential travel are lifted, says Rick Seaney, the CEO of travel analytics company 3Victors.

Airlines are hoping to make flights more attractive to Americans once the guidelines against non-essential travel are lifted, says Rick Seaney, the CEO of travel analytics company 3Victors. (iStock)

Shop now, fly later

Normally, you make darn sure of your travel dates before you book, because change fees are killers (up to $200 per ticket, even more for international flights). Most change fees have since gone out the window, however, because airlines are trying to remove any hurdles that might prevent people from purchasing tickets, to fly now or fly later. And airlines keep tweaking their change fee policies, so they become ever-more generous.

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Holidays will be cheaper

Holiday travel will never be an out-and-out steal, but we are already seeing deals for Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2020 already. It may even get cheaper as we get closer to the end of the year, but here are some current examples of round-trip fares, all of which were found recently via online deal-finding tools.:

Thanksgiving:

  • Boston to Washington, D.C., Nov. 24-28, $183
  • Los Angles to Seattle, Nov. 24-28, $267

Christmas:

  • Chicago to Fort Lauderdale, Dec. 20-27, $220
  • Dallas to Denver, Dec. 22-26, $223
  • New York to London, Dec. 20-27, $476

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The old rules to find cheap airfare will still work

Old rules like "fly cheaper days." For domestic travel, you can usually pay less by flying Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; outside the U.S., weekdays are generally cheaper than weekends. The following airfare examples (found April 28) are the cheapest flights from Los Angeles to New York in early November:

  • Fly Tuesday-Saturday, $139
  • Fly Friday-Sunday, $257

Don’t worry about expired ID at security checkpoints

According to the folks who oversee airport security, if your driver's license expired on or after March 1 of this year, and you can’t renew because the DMV is closed, you can still use the old license as acceptable identification at any TSA checkpoint, for up to a year after expiration. 
 
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One more thing: Remember how we were all supposed to have the new "Real ID" licenses in order to fly starting in October of this year? That’s been pushed back a year, too.