As airlines recover slowly, those discount fares come with a catch

MIAMI – It’s 1:30 in the afternoon and the airport terminal looks, well, terminal. There aren’t nearly the number of people you’d expect to be bustling around to catch a flight.

“You look at a place like Miami, where there’s so much international traffic, some of it has built back up,” said Seth Kaplan, an airline analyst. “When you talk about domestic travel, it’s a question of what people are comfortable with doing.

There are signs of slow recovery. Passenger travel at Miami International Airport quadrupled from April to July, though still reaching nowhere near normal numbers.

This month, three international carriers came back, joining 13 that never stopped, or had cut back.

The upside for passengers is impressive deals — with a caveat.

“The airlines are still making cuts in September, and in a few cases in August,” Kaplan said. “Now, if they sell you the ticket, they’re going to have to give you a way to get there, but it might not be the nonstop flight you were hoping for. It might not be the time you were hoping for.

Much will be up in the air leading up to Oct. 1, when the staffing protections that come with federal relief money end for those whose livelihoods depend on South Florida’s critical travel industry.

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