'Fares are higher & getting higher.' What to expect if you're planning to fly this summer

Posted at 5:29 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 07:06:21-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Domestic flights are hot right now. Fares are heating up, too.

David Sparro shared on my Facebook page: “Vegas at the end of the summer… booked it 6 months ago.. Was cheap… tickets now have tripled.”

Flights abroad are also in demand.

“I have my passport. I’m ready! My first trip is to Jamaica,” said Rhonda Phillips with a big smile.

She is a travel buff from Detroit who is planning a July beach getaway for her birthday. She’s going with a group to Montego Bay and was one of the first to book her ticket.

“We checked the flights, and they have gone up,” said Phillips.

She explained that she paid $466 for her round trip ticket in February, but she said flights to Jamaica are now more than $120 higher!

So, if you’re thinking about flying, what can you expect?

I went to the experts: Bonnie Newcomer – President of Departure Travel Management in Birmingham – and Jill Jones – a Travel Concierge with Cadillac Travelin Southfield.

“Travel is going to come back in a real boom way in the next few months,” said Newcomer.

Are prices just going to be soaring this summer?

“The trend that I see is that fares are higher, and they’re getting higher every day,” said Jones.

Why? Jones said there’s more demand from passengers but not as many flights.

“Normally destinations that might have 4 or 5 non-stop flights have two,” Jones explained.

Also, the blocking of middle seats is just about over.

Delta -- which holds over 80% of the lift out of Detroit – is among the last. The airline is ending the pandemic policy at the end of April.

So, airlines are starting to make up for that lost revenue.

One big plus? – major carriers have eliminated change fees.

Delta’s policy is good for tickets originating in North America to anywhere in the world for any ticket purchased on or before April 30th of 2021.

“Even if you book something and then you find out months from now – oh my gosh – it’s less expensive. You have the ability to rebook yourself,” said Jones.

You won’t get a refund, but you will get a voucher.

However, Jones said if you book a “basic economy” fare for a Delta flight on any travel websites -- like Orbitz, Travelocity, or Kayak – those don’t qualify for the “no change fee” deal.

So, if you need to re-book or cancel, you’ll be hit with fees.

Before you book you have to figure out where you want to go.

What are the destinations most in demand?

“Florida is extremely popular,” said Bonnie Newcomer. “It has been for Spring Break, and it will be going into the summer. Out west into Colorado, Wyoming – the National Parks areas – that all is starting to book up now.”

Newcomer suggested you consider a travel package with health insurance – especially if you’re flying abroad -- and plan early to avoid sticker shock.

I recently experienced that when booking a weekend trip to South Carolina. The Delta ticket departing Detroit on Friday and coming back on Sunday in June was about $1500.00.

“And the prices will continue to rise,” Newcomer said.

Rhonda Phillips is glad she booked her flight to Montego Bay two months ago.

“I wanted to go ahead and get it while it was affordable for me,” Phillips said.

We hope Rhonda Phillips has a safe and fun trip.

She’ll need a negative COVID-19 test or antigen test collected three days before her flight to Jamaica to be allowed into that country.

Mexico is one of the country’s that’s not requiring any tests before arriving.

Travelers will need a negative test before boarding any international flights back into the United States.

Bottom line, check health guidelines – as they are updated frequently – and buy your tickets as soon as possible.