First Time to Europe - HELP!! (Please)

Mar 3rd, 2011, 12:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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First Time to Europe - HELP!! (Please)

I'm going to Europe this summer. Trip is planned but I'm going bonkers trying to book the flights. Prices have jumped on me and I don't know whether to wait this out or book now. I also don't know whether to do 1 connection or 2 (cheaper) There are no direct flights out of Oklahoma to Europe.

Dates: July 1st through 15th. These are set dates. I could come back on the 14th but would prefer the 15th. Peak summer season, I know but due to schedules with my child and friend in Belgium's children it's the dates that matched up for us.

Locations: Fly into Paris on the 1st and out of Brussels on the 15th.

Questions: Is this something I should continue to watch and book on my own or bite the bullet and hire a travel agent since it is my first time? I realize that nobody can predict airfare but am I too early or too late to book the good rates? Also, I'm travelling with a 12 year old - obviously I would love a one stop flight but the rates are much better on a 2 stop flight. Is this something that is doable? Am I going to be too exhausted at the end of a 2 week trip to manuever 2 layovers w/ a 12 year old?

Thank you!
OUTinkerbelle is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2011, 01:31 PM
  #2  
 
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First off, I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to leave Oklahoma, especially in July.

That said, I would suggest that you absolutely not wait if your dates are firm and you are certain that you'll go. On any flight, the number of lowest-priced seats is limited. Once those seats are sold, you'll have to buy the next highest priced seats. While it's possible that fares will go down (or, more accurately, that the airline would open up some lower priced seats), it's much more likely that you'll have to pay more the longer you wait.

Approximately 83,633 people make 2-connection flights every day; it's no big deal.
DonTopaz is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2011, 02:10 PM
  #3  
 
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Is this something I should continue to watch and book on my own or bite the bullet and hire a travel agent since it is my first time?

I see no need to use a travel agent, if all you are looking for is the flights. The likes of Orbitz or Expedia are user-friendly enough.

Am I going to be too exhausted at the end of a 2 week trip to manuever 2 layovers w/ a 12 year old?

Where are the layovers? And how long are they? If they are at decent airports and offer enough time, then the opportunity to stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat might actually be a positive. A bit more risk of lost baggage, but the vast majority of those that fly every day have no issues, and I wouldn't worry too much.

As for pricing, what city are you leaving from and what prices are you seeing? I plugged in OKC and Tulsa and don't see significant differences between 1 and 2-stop itineraries. The prices are high, though.
travelgourmet is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2011, 06:25 PM
  #4  
J62
 
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I prefer to use www.kayak.com for flight searches. Neither orbitz nor expedia now show AA flights.

I'm seeing TUL-Paris,BRU-TUL on those dates for $1534 round trip. Leaving Tulsa on 6/30 instead of 7/1 saves you $40.

Tulsa - Brussels round trip for $1334 Friday to Friday.
J62 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 05:49 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Might get one or 2 AAdvantage CCs 40000 FF miles per card

book www.aa.com out of Dallas to PAR or AMS

pay with the card rack up a tonne of FF miles but

With fixed dates you are pretty much shafted on price

as you are trying to go in peak season.

might also have a look at

NYC-PAR or NYC-AMS non-stop then train wherever.

fly a cheap econo OKC to NYC

www.cheapoair.com www.kayak.com/buzz good screening sites

www.betterbidding.com search Paris nice hotels from $80

can save a bunch or www.hotel-collegedefrance.com cute

if you do not want to bid Priceline.

Agents do not save much as a rule but check with one

if you like sometimes they can save.
qwovadis is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 06:03 AM
  #6  
 
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Cheapest I can find for your dates

NYC PAR SwissAir 1 stop Geneva RT $600/tax

$560 all in each way www.cheapoair.com

so $1100 total out of NYC
qwovadis is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 07:24 AM
  #7  
 
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qwovadis:

Your practice of adding extra, blank lines makes your posts more difficult to read, and it makes it more difficult to scroll through long threads. Please stop it.

Also, there is no such airline as "SwissAir." Swissair went out of business 9 years ago.
DonTopaz is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 08:13 AM
  #8  
 
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First, I would certainly consider a 2-stop itinerary if it's cheaper. Your 12 year-old can deal with it.

The airfares to Europe have already started jumping, and I suspect they won't get any better if you wait. And if your dates are immovable (and realize those are going to be about the most expensive dates of the entire summer), then it's really madness to think you might luck into a real sale fare. But there are some options.

Consider flying out of DFW instead of OKC or TUL. It might save money, and there are some direct flights from there. I know it's a real pain, but it might be worth it if you can save $200 or $300 per ticket, even if you have to spend a night near the airport. If not, then skip this option because the inconvenience will not outweigh the cost.

It might be just as cheap (though admittedly much more inconvenient) to book a separate ticket to the NYC area if you can't get a decent add-on fare from Oklahoma. Just be sure you don't have to go from EWR to JFK, which isn't really feasible. It is actually feasible to transfer from LGA to JFK if it saves you a lot of money.

Finally, if it's cheaper to book a round-trip to either Brussels or Paris consider that instead of an open-jaw (though it's not usually a significant difference). It's a relatively quick and easy train trip between the two cities, and it could save you money.
doug_stallings is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 08:40 AM
  #9  
 
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If you have 3-4 hours between planes, you will have some time to relax, to eat, to browse souvenir shops - and your 12-year-old will be ready for the next leg of the flight.
Dayenu is online now  
Mar 4th, 2011, 09:42 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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(rizz... some of us have flown SwissAir for years and are not easily 'trained' to call it Swiss International, or whatever it is now)
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 10:08 AM
  #11  
 
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Remember, if you want to arrive in Paris on July 1 you'll need to book flights that leave on June 30.
Jimingso is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 10:40 AM
  #12  
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Thanks for all the responses! I just booked AA for $1550 a ticket for 1 stop. It was over $1650 a ticket yesterday so I think I'm good. It's more than I was hoping to pay but I feel very relieved that I've finally got the airfare booked and I can move on to the next planning step.

My problem with booking out of NYC or ORD on a regional is that SW takes me to Midway instead of O'Hare. Same for NYC. Not worth the hassle. My sisters live in Dallas and we played around with me driving down there the night before but the price difference was about $100 a ticket and I would eat that in gas driving there and back. Plus, after 2 weeks in Europe I think I'm going to be ready for my own bed!

I was also able to book the mid-morning flights that I wanted which were much better than the 6:00 am and 7:00 am flights out of TUL and BRU I kept seeing.

Lyaover on the way down is DFW for 3.5 hours and ORD on the way back for 5 hours. Not too bad. And you guys are right - we will both want to stretch our legs, get a bite to eat and walk around.

Thank you all again! Very much appreciated. I think I was really just scared to pull the trigger on airfare over $3k!
OUTinkerbelle is offline  
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