Airlines Are Luring Travelers Back With Cheap Fares and Empty Seats — but Is It Worth It?

This spring, airlines grounded most of their fleets and slashed more than 90 percent of their schedules. Even then, many planes flew nearly empty. By July, U.S. carriers had recovered some of their pre-pandemic business, with flights on average about 50 percent full, according to Cirium, a company that tracks the sector. Airlines remain in dire financial straits, but the mask-wearing passengers still flying have found plenty of room to stretch out (even in coach), plus uncongested airports, deep-cleaned aircraft, and tons of overhead bin space.