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How does one find out if flights are really quite full?

How does one find out if flights are really quite full?

Mar 11th, 2010, 12:18 PM
  #1  
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How does one find out if flights are really quite full?

I am normally super good at finding reasonable international airfares and usually not months and months out ahead of time. Now, from everything I've read, the rules have changed because there are supposed to be fewer flights so fewer seats and thus higher fares. Is this really true that capacities have been radically slashed? How does one get a feel for the point when planes start to be quite full and prices will only rise or for when they still have lots of seats to sell and prices may diminish?

We are thinking about travel in mid-May to possibly Europe, or several other locales are also in the running. In the past I would have felt that I had plenty of time to discover those lower fares that always seemed to pop up in the last month or 6 weeks before a flight. Now I don't know. Is there any way to verify in general how full flights (not a specific flight) are? Thanks.
julies is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 12:47 PM
  #2  
 
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I think you can only go by what you read in the travel press (Internet sites, travel magazines, newspapers' Sunday travel sections), and they all say that airlines have cut capacity so that flights will be fuller this year. That means higher prices. I think the rules have changed.

It sounds like you have flexibility about destinations. I'd say find a place whose airfare and terms of purchase you are comfortable with and lock something in soon. Mid-May isn't that far away.

Obviously, there are no guarantees that fares won't go down, but the lowest fares may already be gone.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 06:13 PM
  #3  
 
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If you want to check a particular flight there are tools out there.

Www.expertflyer.com shows you available tickets by fare class... you can try it free for a month or so. It shows you the seats left in a fare class, if it's showing lots of zeros then.. things are selling.

However, at under 60 days you do start to run a pretty good risk of the price going up instead of down. At 30 I would think it's only the real lucky who won't get the "higher fares"
CarolA is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 06:58 PM
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Seatcounter will give you the same basic information as EF, but it's free.

http://www.seatcounter.com/
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 07:10 PM
  #5  
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Thanks. These tools are for specific flights though, and there is really no way to ascertain whether what we've been hearing about flights in general being quite full is true or not. Correct?
julies is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 07:52 PM
  #6  
 
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International flights are generally going to be full because there are less flights this year. I know with my own airline we are not operating certain flights everyday like we did last year or running a bigger plane rather than two smaller ones to the same city overseas.
I seriously think that if you want a certain city at a certain time in May you should get on it. Quite a few of the college students graduate at the end of April and use May for their travel time before jobs!
dutyfree is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 08:05 PM
  #7  
 
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The dollar is doing better against the euro this year than it was last year. More people should be traveling to Europe this year.

I think you have to accept that what you're hearing and reading about flights being full in general is true, even if there is no way for us as individuals to actually prove it. I would lock something in soon.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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Even though the dollar is doing better, there are still alot of people out of work. I don't see international travel being that strong. Of course, I could be wrong.
bettyk is offline  
Mar 12th, 2010, 03:22 AM
  #10  
 
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These tools are for specific flights though, and there is really no way to ascertain whether what we've been hearing about flights in general being quite full is true or not.

If you are just looking for general information on how full planes are, then all of the major US airlines publish this information. For example, the Continental press release for February traffic can be found here:

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US....aspx?i=PRNEWS

If you read the release, you will see that they filled 72.7% of their trans-Atlantic seats during February 2010, but only 62.4% during February 2009. Across their entire network, they filled 77.7% of the seats during February 2010, compared to 72.5% during February 2009. Most of the other airlines have seen increases in load factors as well.
travelgourmet is online now  
Mar 12th, 2010, 05:07 AM
  #11  
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Thanks. This is precisely the type of real data that I was looking for. Looks as though the airlines have gotten smarter about their scheduling and we'll be payingmore as a result.
julies is offline  
Mar 12th, 2010, 05:24 AM
  #12  
 
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I, too, thought that I was pretty good when it came to purchasing airline tickets. I am locked in to a trip to the Netherlands for June 15-30 as I have paid rental on an apartment. I have been watching the air fare for months and we all know that usually in March the airlines run a sale for travel through June...I have not seen that yet! I have to fly from Charlotte North Carolina to Amsterdam and the best rates (and schedule) are $1359....any ideas or input from anyone? I can't decide whether to buy those tickets or just gamble!
kraines is offline  
Mar 14th, 2010, 04:43 PM
  #13  
 
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I was sad to see prices of 1200-1400 when checking kayak. A poster suggested clicking on their "More" and the "buzz" I saw that people had gotten good rates in the past 12 hours. It seem fares have lowered, especially with Aer Lingus and SAS...GOOD LUCK!!!
deladeb is offline  
Mar 15th, 2010, 03:08 PM
  #14  
 
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I finally purchased our tickets to Amsterdam and paid $1359! I was afraid to wait longer. Oh well...
kraines is offline  

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