What to Expect From Travel in 2021

Grounded fliers should see plenty of change this year on prices, mask rules and rewards programs—if pandemic conditions improve

A member of the New York National Guard hands out health forms to arriving passengers at LaGuardia Airport. This year will see more travel requirements and more paperwork.

Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg News

We can’t know the one thing we all want to know about travel in 2021: When can we confidently start traveling again safely? As we’ve seen lately, uncertainty continues with developments like the new variant of Covid-19 and slower vaccine distribution. But there’s a lot we can know about travel in the new year. Here are some predictions:

1. Get Ready for Prices to Zigzag

香蕉视频苹果下载Airlines will respond to increases in demand for seats with higher prices much faster than they can get more flights into schedules. There’s tons of pent-up demand, and when it spills out into bookings, prices in some markets will surge.

Hotels in prime destinations will seem maddeningly expensive. Downtown luxury business hotels will stay especially cheap, since their core business travelers won’t be coming back in droves yet.

Airline pricing right now often follows our own hopes and expectations. I tracked tickets for the same dates each month in 2021 in five markets and found that tickets are really cheap early in the year—when there likely will be little travel—and more expensive for summer bookings, when airlines anticipate healthy demand.

香蕉视频苹果下载Between New York and Los Angeles, for example, JetBlue had round trips for $211 in on the dates I checked (departing the 23rd of each month and returning on the 28th) in February, March and April. May jumped to $386—a more normal fare for advance bookings.

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