Travel deals for college students offer affordable ways to return home

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By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer

Nationwide, companies are working to help students who utilize their services by offering exclusive deals, discounts and free services due to the unexpected effects of COVID-19.

Last week, Frontier Airlines announced that students could receive a special deal by using an “.edu” email address to fly free due to recent changes in the college system because of the effects of COVID-19.

Students who sign up for the “Discount Den” subscription program, they receive a $100 voucher for future travel. All fights through May 31, 2020, are eligible for this deal.

Last week, many airlines waived their exchange fees in order to accommodate those flying into heavily impacted COVID-19 pockets, or just changed plans in general.

For college students, this has become an issue with the announcement of the immediate evacuation of residence halls, canceled spring break trips as well as unexpected decisions to stay at home until August.

A plethora of U.S. airlines are working to accommodate travelers during these unusual situations.

Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue, along with many other airline CEOs, have decided to take major pay cuts of 20%, in order to keep their businesses afloat and get travellers where they need to go.

“I mean, our January and February was really good, and we started seeing the impact around Feb. 25. In the U.S. industry, we saw about a 30% drop-off in traffic around 9/11. This is probably even worse than that,” Hayes said in a CBS interview last week.

For example, JetBlue Airways has removed all cancellation and change fees through April 30 and are asking for customers to just pay the difference in ticket, if applicable.

Scottsdale, Ariz. freshman Josh Williamson said he had his own opinions about student travel due to COVID-19.

“Personally I wouldn’t use this because my dad has a preexisting relationship with American Airlines and they already offer rewards for frequent flyers. Frontier is hoping that people who see this advertisement are more likely to buy a ticket from them because ‘they help kids connect with their families,’” Williamson said. “If students need to fly back to school to move out, they would need a round trip flight. This means that they would possibly pay for a flight back with Frontier and increase their revenue that they desperately need. Companies usually never make a deal without benefiting themselves in the long run.”

Out of state students can check MarketWatch to see if the airline they use is providing refunds or exchanges.

In addition, many storage services are additionally providing students some additional grace in this time of unexpected change.

President of U-Haul, JT Taylor, sent out a press release in mid-March detailing the company’s plan to assist students in college who are dealing with the unprecedented scheduling changes of their schools with a free storage offer lasting for 30 days.

U-Haul’s “Collegeboxes” can carry students’ personal items and ship them to universities across the nation. As long as students are a new customer to U-Haul and have a student ID, they can utilize this deal.

“Students and their parents are in need of moving and storage solutions. We have the expertise and network to help, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Taylor said in the press release.

Lastly, on March 13, car rental company Enterprise lowered their policy age to ages 18 to 21, for students who have had to adjust their travels.

Originally, the nation’s biggest rental car company charged a fee for drivers younger than 25, but has since been waived due to the adjournment of college classes on-campus across the country.