After reading a promising story in the New York Times that said, “an unvaccinated child is at less risk of serious Covid illness than a vaccinated 70-year-old,” I think my wife and I are ready to start traveling with our kids as long as we go to places with low transmission rates and can stay outdoors most of the time. That’s why we’re not going to Toronto this holiday. But I did just book us tickets to Hawaii for January since fares are so low.
Speaking of those tickets to Hawaii … I found what I thought were incredible business class fares between LAX and Honolulu for $549 per person. I bought business class seats for a number of reasons:
- It’s the only way I can get my wife to take the kids on a plane since we can social distance and minimize the risk of having someone next to us who is sick. Fewer people equals fewer chances.
- Normally, if I’m buying an expensive ticket, it’s going towards my elite status spend on American Airlines (AA) but American flies small A321’s between LAX and HNL while United has at least one flight with a plush 777-300. AA’s first class only has recliner seats with 38 inches of pitch (legroom) while United’s, for a cheaper price, gets you 78 inches!
- By the time you add up all the extra fees of a (semi) comfortable coach seat and baggage, you’re not really saving that much money by flying economy since business class comes with free seat selection, free checked baggage and free food/drink.
- With the extra legroom, I can work and my kids and wife can (hopefully) sleep.
So, you can see, it’s really a no brainer.
But here’s the tip that can really help you save money
Generally, people set fare alerts (here’s how to set a fare alert) before purchasing tickets so they can monitor fares and then jump on a good price as soon as it becomes available. You should continue doing that but what I recommend is to also set a fare alert after you’ve bought your tickets. I did just this to see if the fare would change and by how much. Well, guess what?! Two days after purchasing, I got an alert that my four tickets had gone down by $280! I immediately called United because one good thing to come out of the pandemic is that airlines have done away with their offensive $200+ change fees.
Since I have no status with United, I figured I would be on hold for a while but I was impressed that they patched me through within a minute. I knew the rep was in the Philippines so I asked him how it’s going there and he said that things are okay. I then asked about trying to reprice my flight so I could get a refund or a trip credit and he said I could. I would get back $70 per person but there would be a $50 charge for an agent to change each ticket so I would only get a $20 per person future credit.
I asked if I could do it on my own online and he said that I could and would get the whole $70 per person back. I was just about to say, “Great, that’s what I’ll do!” when the call failed. He probably thought I was extremely rude but I couldn’t call back since I wouldn’t be put through to him again.
I went online and am happy to say that United makes it easy to change your flights. Unfortunately, I couldn’t change it to the same flight I had so I had to search for flights earlier or later in the week, as the flights on the same day were either not a 777 or they were more expensive.
After a few clicks, we were all set to go back to the rock with $70 future trip credits, which will hopefully come in handy within the next 365 days. FYI: If I wanted to stick with my original flight, I suppose I could change it again back to the original but I’m happy with our new date and more importantly so is my wife.