Finding and Booking Flight Deals During COVID-19: Good or Bad Idea?

Our Copa flight at PTY

Many of us are sad and disappointed in having to cancel and postpone travel plans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us might even be looking forward to traveling again when it is safe and possible to do so and speculating as to when that might be. In this post, we talk about travels deals posted now for future travel to help you decide if you should be booking something.

Some of us are still following sites like Secret Flying that advertise flight deals and if you have been paying attention, there are some amazing deals right now for the summer and into the fall; many of us would be booking these flights if we were not in a pandemic right now that is affecting most of the globe to varying degrees.

Secret Flying Deal
Secret Flying Deal

Since we had to cancel a trip to Bogota, Cartagena, Panama, and Costa Rica this March 2019, we were really interested in these business class fares from YVR – Vancouver to South America via MEX – Mexico City between July to November. While there was a flight that would take you to BOG – Bogota Colombia, it was the one to EZE – Buenos Aires Argentina that interested us the most because it’s on Aeromexico’s 787 full lie flat product which looks similar to our flights on TAP Air Portugal’s a330neo business class product. Believe it or not, it takes about 9 hours to fly to Buenos Aires from Mexico City!

Boarding our flight on TAP Air Portugal's A330neo from LIS to EWR
Boarding our flight on TAP Air Portugal’s A330neo from LIS to many bus gates at LIS!

At this time, we decided not to book those flights for a number of reasons listed below:

  • Too good to be true: Considering how expensive Aeromexico’s business class fares are on this route, we wonder if they are enticing people to book these knowing the flights will not operate to generate cash flow. This might be a stretch but many airlines are only offering travel vouchers EVEN if they cancel your flight and denying refund requests; once they have your money it can be difficult or even impossible to get it back. Also, some airlines may not weather the crisis and be out of business which means you will lose the money for the tickets you bought.
  • Airline Policies: At this time, Aeromexico’s travel vouches must be used by February 28, 2021, meaning you need to fly by then which is not very flexible. Yes, it may change but this is the policy for tickets booked now up until May 30, 2020. Source:
  • Travel insurance: If your flight is cancelled or you can’t travel, you could put in a claim to get the money back via your credit card but credit card companies are so overwhelmed with claims, it can take a while as we are experiencing right now. We wonder if they will even accept claims for flights booked during a pandemic when many borders are closed and people are to avid all non-essential travel. This is a slippery slope and you need to anticipate that your credit card insurance will not cover you if the flights do not operate.
  • Uncertainty: It is one thing to travel domestically when restrictions will ease but international travel adds much more complexity due to entry requirements that could change very quickly with little or no notice. Essentially, we do not know when things will open u and even if they do, there is always the risk they will close down again quickly. With less flights, it does make things more challenging to change flights and/or find alternate ways to get places.
  • The World Post-COVID-19: We do not know how the world will emerge from this and how places will cope. At one point, we suspect that tourist destinations will need tourist dollars and welcome visitors but no one knows when that will be and how easy it will be to travel in the future. As travelers, we should remain cautiously optimistic that things will normalize but it is too early to know the effects of the pandemic on economies and how they are affecting places in the world; some destinations may de-stabilize and become unsafe to tourists.
  • Return on Investment: Other than getting to South America in business class for a good deal to enjoy traveling in comfort and the destinations we want to visit, there is no incentive for us to book these fares from a mileage perspective; the miles earned would have to be credited to programs we are not invested in, Delta Sky Miles, KLM/Air France Flying Blue. At this point, we have more than enough points due to all of our cancellations and have started using those to book future travel because it does not require cash and we do not pay cancellation fees.

For all these reasons, we did not book these tickets and do not plan on booking anything right now. We feel that it is too soon to invest money in future trips without knowing what will happen and develop.

Have you booked any travel deals right now? Are you looking forward to traveling again in the future?

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