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Old 05-08-2012, 02:52 PM   #21
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I booked flight to Tanzania, then London, then back to Raleigh NC to visit kids end of June about 4 weeks ago. Two tickets were $4,300. Today? ~$7,600. These were pretty pricey from our experience, but I think it's because we're in and out of London near the Olympics. If we had just booked to Tanzania and back (would have missed seeing the grandkids - not an option!) 4 weeks ago it would have been not much more than half of what we paid. As it is, we're passing through Heathrow coming and going regardless! And no, I'm not looking forward to 30 hours to get to Tanzania.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:46 PM   #22
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I went to a concert and paid $300/seat to get DW 2 rows from her idol. I overheard the girls in front of us paid $99/seat as fan club members. A couple 4 seats away in our row volunteered they'd paid a scalper $1200/seat. We all enjoyed the show...
It's a very good point that we have no relevant factors to use in comparing prices, unless another airline flies the same route. "Happiness" might be the best factor.

I'm going to buy my next set of airline tix 30-60 days out. Our dojang competitors are frequently flying to the Mainland (usually through LAX or SFO) and that's when they usually see the best prices.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #23
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I use Kayak and if I'm traveling in Sep, I put Sep 01 and 9/30 dates and a window pops up at the right with the best fares found in the last 48 hours.

From that I try to select the best dates.

Then get up about 5AM to book, fares will be lowest of the day until about 7AM when carriers begin to see the new demand building.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:35 PM   #24
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I use Kayak and if I'm traveling in Sep, I put Sep 01 and 9/30 dates and a window pops up at the right with the best fares found in the last 48 hours.

From that I try to select the best dates.

Then get up about 5AM to book, fares will be lowest of the day until about 7AM when carriers begin to see the new demand building.
Interesting approach. Are those EST times? No way will I get up at 3AM PST to do this but 5AM PST is OK.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:42 PM   #25
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Interesting topic. We travel frequently for pleasure and figure it really is a crap shoot. The airlines use complicated algoriths to maximize the revenue for each flight and it is difficult to predict. Sales can help but are unpredictable. Changing dates or times for a cheaper fare after the fact will cause change fees. Typically we will book 6-9 months out for overseas flights and only 2-4 months for north american flights. You really can drive yourself crazy by second guessing.
For us the bigger question for North American flights is getting a good seat in economy. If you get a good bulkhead or exit row seat they are almost as good as business class but at maybe 10% of the cost. Good seat is defined as lots of leg room and no stranger sitting beside you. To get a good seat it really helps to know which plane they are flying and the seat configuration used. For our usual routes we know this. For overseas flights we always go business.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:49 PM   #26
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...(snip)...
If you get a good bulkhead or exit row seat they are almost as good as business class but at maybe 10% of the cost. Good seat is defined as lots of leg room and no stranger sitting beside you.
Do you ever find that bulkhead seats are populated by new moms with babies?

Quote:
To get a good seat it really helps to know which plane they are flying and the seat configuration used. For our usual routes we know this. For overseas flights we always go business.
Somehow I found out about this site that suggests good seats: http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:09 PM   #27
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If you can be flexible on the exact travel date/time I've heard from some that waiting until 5-7 days prior to the trip to book can save you a lot of money (up to half off). Of course, you also run the risk of not being able to go at all or paying a really high fee if all the airlines are booked. So if it's a trip to France and you already have hotels for certain nights booked... this doesn't help.

It's a common supply/demand thing... if there are many seats left a week prior to the flight, then airlines will usually sell them at a substantial discount. If the plane is booked and all other flights on or around that same day are booked as well... last minute shoppers will pay a much higher rate.

It's anyone's guess which situation it'll be at any given time.

Another place where this is huge is on cruise ships. If you are retired and live close enough to Florida to get to one of the major ports in a days notice... you can usually get a ticket on a cruise ship for half the cost by putting yourself on a list to be contacted to fill up empty rooms in the days prior to departure.

I knew a couple who have done this multiple times (8 day cruises for $300, instead of $1000 a ticket)... you just have to be ready to go on a moments notice. For some that makes it not worth it.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:54 PM   #28
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Do you ever find that bulkhead seats are populated by new moms with babies?
We did on our last flight.

Luckily new parents are rarely interested in bringing their babies to the islands...
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:55 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Zero View Post
I use Kayak and if I'm traveling in Sep, I put Sep 01 and 9/30 dates and a window pops up at the right with the best fares found in the last 48 hours.

From that I try to select the best dates.

Then get up about 5AM to book, fares will be lowest of the day until about 7AM when carriers begin to see the new demand building.
Never heard this angle before, I'll have to test it out next time I book a flight, thanks...
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:39 AM   #30
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Do you ever find that bulkhead seats are populated by new moms with babies?

Somehow I found out about this site that suggests good seats: http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/
That's why we only take these seats if there are only 2 seats in the row. Never want to sit beside a stranger. They always seem to have a kid in their lap or weigh 300 lbs. My daughter recently gave up her business class seat because the person she sat beside was severly handicaped and needed his caregiver to sit beside him. It 's always risky to sit beside a stranger.
Just flew from Phoenix to Toronto in an exit row (Airbus 321) that only had 2 seats. Just as good as business class. Air Canada flies Embraer 190's between Toronto and Calgary. These are configured as 2 plus 2 seating in each economy row. Thus a bulkhead is usually pretty good.
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:04 AM   #31
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Well, I gambled and lost. I knew I needed to purchase a ticket as early as first of May, for travel on 30 May, so I kept watching and the ticket increased in price by 15%.

Then to add insult to injury, the flight times that I wanted were sold out, so I got to get up early.

Snoozed and loosed.
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