Airfare to Germany

Nov 9th, 2005, 01:54 PM
  #1  
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Airfare to Germany

Last week (11/3) I checked on airfares from LAX to Frankfurt Germany for August '06 (8/9/06-8/22/06). I emailed the information to my BF, so I know exactly the day I checked and the fares I saw. The lowest fare then was $738 rt. Today I checked again (same exact information), and the lowest fare is $1109 rt (same airline).

Could someone please tell me why the airfare would have increased so significantly in such a short period? Also, is it likely to go down again?

Lastly, I've never redeemed ff miles before, but I'm hoping to do so for this trip. I'm only allowed up to $800 for a ticket to Europe (I can pay the difference), so the $738 fare definitely would be nice. I thought I'd try to redeem my miles around January or February for an August trip. Is this waiting too late?

My BF may also redeem his miles for his ticket (different program from mine). How difficult do you think it might be for us to coordinate our flights? Although not my preference, I suppose I'd be okay if we took different flights on different airlines since he wants to travel Business class and has enough points for this. I don't and Economy doesn't really bother me all that much, so we might not even be sitting together even if we were on the same flight. But, regardless, how difficult is it to redeem miles and are we crazy to both try to redeem separate miles to fly together?

Thanks!
jlaughs is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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It sounds like you don't actually have ff miles in an airline program but rather you have 'miles' in a reward program that lets you exchange them for a ticket on any airline up to a certain value. In that case, what you're really doing is purchasing a ticket so I don't see any problems coordinating with your BF to be on the same flights (you just have to pay the fare difference for any amount beyond $800).

What airline program are your BF's miles on? Have him check award availability using is miles first and see what flights are available to him. Then you can price the same flights for yourself.
Patty is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 03:16 PM
  #3  
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Patty, I think you're right about my situation. That sounds familiar. Like I said, this is the first time I'm redeeming "ff" miles, so I guess I'm really pretty ignorant about exactly what I have and what I'm doing.

Just to make sure I understand you -- since my BF actually has *real* FF miles that he will be redeeming, it might be more difficult for him to get a ticket? So, once we have a reservation for him, as long as there are still seats available on that flight, then I should be able to just "purchase" a seat with my miles. Is this right?

We were already planning to have him get his reservation first since he'd be able to change it if necessary. On mine though, once the transaction is completed, I can't change it.

Any idea whether the fare will come down again or not?

Thanks!
jlaughs is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Yes, if BF has ff miles in an airline program, he will only be able to redeem on flights that have award availability. For summer flights to Europe, I'd have him check as soon as possible as this is one of the toughest awards to get. What airline program is it BTW?

He may be able to hold an award reservation for x number of days without ticketing and that would give you time to price the same flights for yourself.

I won't try to guess whether that fare will come down. I think $738 was an excellent fare for LAX-FRA in August. I don't know if you'll see it again. Try posting the fare question on the Europe board.
Patty is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 06:40 PM
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I am really surprised that a $738 even existed for summer travel. I'm with Patty - I doubt you'll see that fare again.

But let me answer a question in your original post. Prices for airline tickets don't actually jump like that. Instead, an airline divides available tickets into "fare classes". A "full fare" Y-class ticket to Europe may cost about $1,800; while the most deeply discounted may go for $700 (or even $300 for flights in Feb/March). And there are many in between.

So, out of 200 economy tickets to be sold, there may only be 20 to be sold for $700, 50 for $800, 50 for $1,100, 40 for $1,400 and the rest for $1,800. [I'm really simplying things, and the airline may not released all those fares at the same time.]

So, what happened to you is that the $738 fare class was sold out since you checked last week. Now, UA's only selling tickets of a higher fare class. The cheaper ones may become available again - like someone cancels, or UA releases more seat into that class, etc...

Anyways, airfare pricing is highly complicated. But just trying to explain to you that it's not something who just decided this week to raise airfare price to Germany by 50%.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 01:38 AM
  #6  
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rkkwan - I believe you (you certainly sound like you know what you're talking about). I still find it all so odd (and disappointing). I checked on several different date configurations. The prices ranged from $738 to $850. What I find odd is that these prices were comparable on several different airlines (US Air, Delta, United, etc.) and now they are all comparable again at the higher price. It just seems a bit coincidental given your explanation.

I wish that I'd know that I was looking at an amazing price. Even though we probably still would have missed out, I would have tried to push to get our tickets settled. Since it was the first time I was looking, I just assumed that the price was what it always is. Darn!!
jlaughs is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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As I said, an airline can release and take away inventory anytime. And they do scan competitors' prices. So, what you see is not due to coincidence, and I didn't say it is. One airline took away its cheap fare classes, other airlines realize and do the same.

Just another example of the complex nature of airfares. I don't know 5% of how it works, and most people even less.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 02:37 AM
  #8  
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Hi rkkwan. I didn't say or mean to imply that you said that it was all a coincidence. I was saying that it seemed like a coincidence that all the airlines would sell out their discounted tickets at the same time. But, given your additional explanation of airlines looking at competitor prices, this makes more sense why the prices for all the airlines would all change at the approximately the same time for about the same amount.

Thanks!
jlaughs is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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I too am surprised that you would have found such a low price for a flight that far in the future. I wonder if there was some sort of error.

My experience is that tickets that far in the future are almost always very high priced; what incentive would they have to offer such a deal? They certainly aren't going to earn a huge amount of interest on your money, and if they leave the fares high, perhaps someone will get nervous and pay their price.

A few months before the date of the flight, they may get nervous if few tickets have been sold, and start to release less expensive tickets or, better yet, have a sale.

Since you are getting tickets in two ways, one with miles, and the other the equivalent of a cash sale, you may have difficulty coordinating it. The last time I looked at getting tickets with miles (I think the airline doesn't consider your purchase with "miles" from a third party an actual purchase with miles; they view it as a cash sale)there was limited availability about 11 months before the flight date, but those tickets are all snapped up almost immediately, and no more become available until just before the date of the flight (I'm talking less than a week here), and of course if all the seats have been sold to cash customers, no award seats will become available at the last minute.

So it looks to me that, unless you are very lucky, you will have to either get the FF seat far in the future, and pay a lot for your ticket at that time; or wait until a sale, or a price reduction, to get your ticket and hope that a FF seat becomes available at the last minute; or get the FF seat far in the future, and get your own ticket when you find a good fare, but there is a chance that the good fare may never appear, as you are flying in season, when prices are higher, and the airlines have reduced the number of flights to try and save money (the days when competing airlines would each fly a half-full plane on the same route are gone; they now code-share, where one airline flies, and they both sell tickets on the same plane).
clevelandbrown is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 09:21 AM
  #10  
lvk
 
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clevelandbrown's last paragraph describes our recent situation. We were looking for flights from LAX-Munich for around the same time period you are looking. We were very flexible with our dates. There were zero award seats available in coach for any combination we tried (pretty much the entire month of August). However, there were 2 business class award seats available (we needed 4 seats). We grabbed them right away, but had to purchase 2 tickets in coach for the same flight at -- gulp -- $1500 apiece.

We feel lucky to have found award seats in the summer to Europe at all. So, 4 of us are flying --2 in bus., 2 in coach-- for about $3,000. Since my MIL usually pays around $2500-$3000 for ONE Lufthansa business class seat from MUC-LAX, I guess an average cost of $750 is okay.

BTW, these are code-share flights with United and Lufthansa.

We have also used miles in the past for code share seats on Air France/Delta with success. It just takes a lot of work, digging around for the best deal.

Good Luck!
lvk is offline  

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