As best I can tell, some of the United Airlines information hasn't been updated on its website, as it says international travel booked before 01/31/22 is fully refundable. I'm trying to figure out whether to book flights for fall 2022 now or whether to wait much closer to avoid the challenges of cancellations we faced when we planned to travel in 2020. Specifically I'm trying to figure out 1) what happens if we need to cancel due to another round of Covid restrictions as well as 2) what happens if we decide/need to change our dates or our route. I'd pay more for more flexibility, but am not seeing an option to do so.
Currently I am seeing fares for travel from our tiny local airport to Newark, and then Newark nonstop to Rome (and the reverse coming home) priced slightly less than for travel originating from Newark. I haven't seen this since 2011 -- on our most recent trips it's been significantly less expensive to drive a few hours and then take a nonstop flight to Europe. On the one hand this is super tempting, as it would save the cost of driving 4 hours to/fr Newark, long term parking, and one night in a Newark hotel to allow us to drive home without being exhausted from flying. On the other hand, I'm always nervous flying from our local airport because there are few flights and more frequent cancellations. If I had the flexibility to change my itinerary down the road, I'd strongly consider booking now. Especially if at some point I could just pay the difference if we decide we'd be better off driving to Newark and flying from there.
I'm also really hesitating about booking flights so far in advance. I'm definitely worried about flights/routes being cancelled if I book far in advance. FWIW, what I'm looking at is the regional jet to Newark, then Business Polaris class Newark to Rome, then Economy Rome to Newark and regional jet Newark to home for under $3000 OR the same but premium economy for the trip home for under $3500. Good deal I think? I've never flown business class so I don't really know.
Thanks for your input on this!