MESA (3 on Your Side) - Frank Wright is planning to fly from Phoenix to Charleston, South Carolina, in a couple of weeks to visit family. "I'm looking forward to visiting them," he said. "It's been a lot of years."
Wright bought his ticket for more than $500. Now the price has plummeted. "Last night, I went online, and it's now $378," Wright told 3 On Your Side. Wright called the airline and was disappointed by the response he received. "There was nothing they could do for me," he said. "No credit, no upgrade to a different seat or anything."
Across the airline industry, demand has dropped due to coronavirus concerns, and airlines have slashed fares as they scramble to fill planes. But for consumers who purchased tickets months ago at a higher price point, it's not likely they will realize any savings if they still plan to take the trip. "It varies from airline to airline," said Kevin Doyle, the executive editor of Consumer Reports magazine. "They'll often charge you a fee to reissue the ticket, which will wipe out whatever savings you might enjoy. It's definitely worth asking, but results are going to be mixed depending on the fare, the airline, the timing, the airline's policy."
Doyle also said consumers who are eyeing deep discounts should carefully consider their options. "People need to realize they might be getting a really good deal, but they also might be traveling into unknown territory, and they need to be prepared for that," he said. "There's plenty of time to travel, and there's going to be plenty of deals when this is over."
"I've never seen flights this cheap."
For now, Wright said he's still planning to take his trip, but won't hesitate to change his plans if things get worse. 3 On Your Side reached out to American Airlines for Wright. A spokesperson said the company never issues refunds or credits for price drops, regardless of coronavirus concerns.
Hours after the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, Americans were flooded with announcements from what seemed like every corner of the country.