How to Plan Your Pandemic Vacation Air Travel

Holiday travel will definitely change this year. Many people choose to stay at home rather than fly the planes to visit their relatives and friends far away. Some of us (hello!) Are totally fine with this, but if you’re thinking about flying this winter, there are a few things to know before ordering.

First and foremost, expect the unexpected. The pandemic situation changes every day, so whether you’re starting to explore now or planning to board a plane at the last minute, be aware that your trip may not end as you hoped. Delayed or canceled flights – even more than the average holiday travel season – and changing quarantine rules are just some of the hurdles to throw into your plans.

Here are some more tips for your 2020 itinerary.

Choose an airline with flexible booking policy

In response to the chaos of changes and cancellations caused by the pandemic, most major airlines have adjusted their policies to allow free ticket changes. The rules do differ between airlines and there are some small fonts to look out for – for example, you may be allowed a limited number of free changes, and some economy class tickets and many international routes will still be charged.

Also, while you may not have to pay the additional cost to change your ticket, you still have to pay the fare difference if you board a more expensive flight. Be sure to check your airline’s policies before booking .

It is also important to note that “free change” does not mean “refund if canceled”. Some airlines (like Delta and Southwest) offer vouchers or credits for canceled flights, but most airlines probably won’t refund your money just because you choose not to fly.

Take the least risky route

Traveling on vacation in a typical year is a nightmare of delays, missed connections and weather cancellations. Passenger traffic may not be such a big issue this winter, but you should still plan ahead to minimize those same headaches.

  • Leave early in the morning so that you have already left before the delays begin.
  • Choose routes with longer transfer times.
  • Choose smaller (and less congested) connecting airports and, if possible, those with less risk of severe winter weather.

Of course, these steps won’t prevent problems as a blizzard in Minneapolis could affect a crossing flight to Miami, but they could minimize your chances of being completely stuck.


It is difficult to say how flight prices will fluctuate if you wait for a booking. In a typical year, tickets only get more expensive, but this year prices may remain low or even drop as the holidays get closer. There is also no guarantee that airlines will not cancel routes. Use a ticket tracker like Google Flights to keep track of fares before making any firm plans.

Follow all safety precautions.

This should be common sense for now, especially since airlines have been requiring passengers to wear masks for months . But be responsible: put on a mask, yes, and bring extras with you. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer with you, and keep as far away from other people as possible.

Finally, check your destination’s quarantine rules , and if you want or need to get tested before flying, give yourself plenty of time to get results (this will obviously vary greatly depending on where you live).


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