How opening US borders to vaccinated travelers could impact domestic flight prices

When the U.S. said it would welcome people from other countries with proof of vaccination as of Nov. 8, bookings on websites in Europe for flights to the United States jumped by more than 750%.

And according to CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg, it’s already affecting prices.

“We’re noticing, right now, airfares domestically in the U.S. going up between 3% and 5% per day,” Greenberg told WTOP on Tuesday. “And that’s compounded, so as we get closer to the Thanksgiving vacation period, we’re going to see a huge increase in airfare and a decrease in the amount of seats available,” he said.

Greenberg has tips to help flyers avoid potential inconveniences.

“If you’re going to be flying, make sure your plane is even still listed on the schedule,” he said.

Also, flyers not on direct flights should give themselves at least a 90-minute connection period between flights.

“Because should your first plane either not operate or be late — even if the airline wants to put you on the next available flight — it may not be available because it may already be full. You need that 90 minutes for you and your bags, not just during this Thanksgiving period. But from now on,” Greenberg advised.

That layover time, he said, is worth some special attention, too.

“I’ve seen connect times listed in schedules as completely legal at 37 minutes. That’s not legal. That’s absurd,” he said.

High demand for flights between Europe and the U.S. opens up opportunity for great deals overseas.

“There are airfares right now between Chicago and Ireland and between Boston and Ireland for $359. You can’t get between New York and Chicago for $359,” Greenberg said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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