NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - With the pandemic impacting the country, the airline industry is not immune to sudden changes.

Travelers who feel comfortable flying can face a ton of changes on short notice. People are slowly but surely feeling more comfortable about flying.

In last week's press conference, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said that the number of people flying is steadily increasing month by month. However, with everything up in the air this year, flying can sometimes be unpredictable.

Sometimes selecting the right flight can be tough. Everything from how long it takes you to get to and from the airport to layover times can impact your decision.

"I'm hearing that more people are stepping out. I'm finding that cautiously, they're going to visit relatives within the United States," travel expert Darlene Dupnack said.

Dupnack has been in the travel business for almost 40 years.

"I've seen the business evolve and change tremendously over the years," Dupnack said.

And there's no year like 2020 - an unpredictable one. If your itinerary changes and you're worried, your choices boil down to the airline you selected and how you booked your flight.

Dupnack said before you click purchase, get travel insurance.

"I've always recommended for the last 30 years, buy cancellation insurance. No matter what you do, because you don't know what kind of circumstances you're going to run into," Dupnack said.

And remember those vouchers airlines gave out earlier this year because of COVID-19? Check them before you fly.

"Because chances are it's only good up to next year. So you want to rebook your trip in time before the voucher expires," Dupnack said.

Another tip: If you booked your flight through a travel agent, Dupnack recommends going through the same person if your flight changes.

"Give them a call. Let them rebook it for you and get it on the books," Dupnack said.

Let's not forget we're still in a pandemic. Dupnack suggests flying with an airline that maintains a social distancing policy with seat selection.

"I've talked to many clients that have gone on packed planes and it's fine when you're sitting down," Dupnack said. "But when they're ready to disembark from the plane, everyone is standing up next to each other, and social distancing is not possible."

So fly if you wish, but stay safe.

Dupnack also said if you're flying overseas, or even outside of the U.S. mainland, check the restrictions in the country or place you're flying to. They can change from the time you booked your flight to when you leave.

If you book your flight through the airlines and the change is significant, say several hours, most will give you the option of changing your plans without a fee or possibly a refund. If the change is minor you can ask about changing your itinerary, but the airlines may not accommodate you.

Ultimately each airline has its own policy, but policies have become more consumer friendly during the pandemic. Reaching out to customer service may help you out more now than in the past.

 
 

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