Receiving an email theft alert from Scott’s Cheap Flights may sound like receiving insider advice from a friend. And that’s exactly how his service started, with founder Scott Keyes sending flight deals to his social network as a hobby. Before his name became synonymous with flight deals, Keyes worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, accumulating frequent thefts during business trips. It was around this time that Keyes said that he became obsessed with scouring message boards for advice on finding flight deals. Rumor has it that Keyes was somewhat of a flight savings guru, especially after finding a round-trip fare from New York to Milan for $ 130 in 2013. The list of recipients of his emails did not stopped growing and, in the summer of 2015, its mailing list reached 5,000 people. Having to cover the cost of upgrading its newsletter software as demand for its service increased, Keyes began to offer a premium version of its international flight alerts for $ 2 per month. The list of paying recipients has grown and increased, as has the resulting workload, and after Keyes saw his agitation income constantly exceed his regular salary, he decided to make Scott’s Cheap Flights his job at full-time. If you want flights under $ 600 to anywhere in the world, subscribe to Scotts Cheap Flights. I cannot overstate this point.— Andrew Lightle (@ Andrew_Lightle3) January 6, 2018 Today, Scott’s Cheap Flights is a full-fledged business with a CEO (who is not Keyes), 37 full-time employees and nearly 2 million members. With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the company began to offer national offers for its premium members (who now pay around $ 4 a month). Keyes recently spoke to the Washington Post about the plight of airline fares, what was going to change the fares and how he became a white knight for thousands during the pandemic. (Editor’s Note: This Q&A is the fourth in a weekly series of By The Way, in which we interview prominent voices from the industry on the future of travel. It has been edited for clarity and clarity. length.) [7 black voices on what needs to change in the travel industry] It is rather advantageous if your team is already at a distance. Looking ahead, how do you think the pandemic will change your business? Will this change Scott’s cheap flights? The short answer is probably yes. Our fortune is certainly linked to the overall fortune of the travel industry. If people aren’t interested in traveling, it’s hard for Scott’s Cheap Flights to do a lot about it. But I am certainly optimistic and cautiously optimistic, not only for the future of the vaccine and the therapies and all that, but also, I am fairly optimistic about the lasting appeal of travel. The initial thought was like, “Oh, the office will never come back. Everyone is going to work from home always because now we see that we can do it. But I think for many people this experience has really shown them, “I need to go back to the office, I miss my colleagues.” I think there is a similar kind of trajectory with the hot shots on the trips. The fact that people are so locked up and so deprived of the things they really love has made it clear to many people how much they want to be able to start over. Obviously, nobody wants to feel like risking their life to get on a plane or go to an amusement park, but once it doesn’t feel like that … I think it’s going to bounce back a lot faster people don’t realize it, because people want [they] need to make up for lost time. The trip is a unique thing where you plan it several months before enjoying it. You don’t make a restaurant reservation nine months in advance, but you can book a flight nine months in advance because that’s when it’s cheap, because that way you can start making reservations. ‘other plans. We all know, basically, that from the day a vaccine is approved, it will take as many months for it to start to be really widely distributed. I think the delay in approving the vaccine could actually give travelers an early boost as they may start to feel confident about planning again. [In-flight dining was already losing its luster. The pandemic could be its demise.] Scott, with his dog Chela at Badlands National Park. (Scott Keyes) I agree with you that people will always be thirsty for travel. But people say that because airlines may have to do social distancing procedures, or because people are not flying right now, flights can be more expensive and therefore less accessible to people. How do you feel about this? Here’s why I’m cautiously optimistic. First of all, the way the dynamics of the airline industry have changed over the past five years has brought us to the heyday of cheap flights. These dynamics that make flights cheap for the previous years still exist, and will continue to exist at least for the next two years. I sympathize with the concern that social isolation may have an impact on fares, but the fact is that there are so many planes right now that don’t fly. They are just sitting in a desert in Arizona, doing nothing. As the demand for people to return to the air begins to increase, these aircraft will be there to meet the demand. Because there is so much slack on the supply side, this means that prices will not really go up. Consumer demand should really rebound strongly … so that it starts to have a negative impact on airline tickets. What is the main thing that airlines can do to try to get people back on planes? It offers cheap prices because they know it’s the main thing that people [basing] a buying decision – as long as travelers are sure not to risk their lives to get on board. The third thing is the price of oil. It is extremely low, certainly by historical standards. I mention this because kerosene is, for most airlines, the # 2 expense. It’s incredibly important to their bottom line. So when it’s 80% lower than it was ten years ago, it’s partly because we’ve been in the heyday of cheap flights, and [it’s] part of the savings passed on to consumers in the form of lower ticket prices. The factors that I observe most in terms of what could potentially put upward pressure on fares, first of all, what is going on with business trips and business trips? It is one of the main drivers of airline profits and has fallen to practically zero in recent times. The second question is this: are there major airlines that go bankrupt or merge or merge with another airline? After that, it’s mostly a medical issue. What does the future of the pandemic look like if it still rages in 2021 as in 2020, and there is not much hope on the medical or vaccine side? Then all bets are disabled at this point. During the pandemic, you sort of became that white knight for the travelers who took advantage of the nightmare airline customer service portals, trying to get a refund during all of this. How do you feel in this new role? We have so much to worry about in our daily lives, especially right now in a pandemic – how can you expect someone to be an expert on the details of airline reimbursement rules and Ministry of Transport regulations? The fact that the airlines behaved so badly and were really trying to take advantage of the lack of expertise or the ignorance of the general public on the most sensitive points of the airline reform law told me that we must trying to use our platform to not only help educate people about what their rights are, but they also help advocate for airlines to do better. [How to secure a refund for a flight canceled due to coronavirus, according to the experts] Can you guess how many people you answered about refunds during this period? It must be thousands. It’s like 95% of the discussions we have [are] on Twitter and then we also get hundreds, thousands of emails going on behind the scenes. It is the main thing in people’s minds, and rightly so. I mean, listen, it’s obviously no one’s fault that a pandemic broke out, but it’s not the same thing as a normal cancellation where you might have decided: “Oh, I don’t want to do this anymore this trip.” Public health experts say traveling is dangerous. Countries close their borders. Countries and places add mandatory quarantines. It is completely unreasonable for people to be traveling right now. And so, this is a situation where I think reimbursements are rightly due. Last week, we launched a domestic flight service. Hooray! This morning, I sent emails to CFS members to find cheap * national * flights. Do you think that one of the changes we have seen so far will continue after the pandemic? We talked about the low fares which I think will continue for some time, at least for the next two years. I think the improved cleanings [are here to stay]. Now that cleanliness and hygiene make the difference between people traveling and not, rather than feeling a little disgusted, it suddenly becomes the number one priority for airlines. Things that I don’t think are here to stay: stuck average seats, capacity control. These will only last until we start to see a significant rebound in travel demand and new bookings. The other thing I want is to stay, but I think it’s probably unlikely, it’s the free changes on new bookings. Currently, in an effort to try to win new bookings, the airlines have stated that all new tickets automatically waive the change fee. It is very different from what the airlines have been doing for years, where there have been charges of two, three, four hundred dollars just to change a ticket. But I think that once the reservations really start to pick up, and once they feel like it costs them more revenue than what they generate for them, they will withdraw them. 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