Should I buy now for travel in April 2011?

Sep 13th, 2010, 03:26 PM
  #1  
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Should I buy now for travel in April 2011?

We are looking at airfare from Newark, NJ to Amsterdam in April 2011 and the price is a whopping $879.10 each!!! That's over $300.00 more than the last time we flew to Holland, in October 2009. I'm shocked that airfare has gone up that much!!

I know the airlines use to offer discounts around Dec-Feb, for travel during the spring-shoulder season. Do you think there will be any sales offered this year? Or should we buy now, before the ticket price goes up?

Did the airlines offer any sales for the current 2010 fall-shoulder season?

Thanks for your input.

Robyn
artstuff is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 03:54 PM
  #2  
 
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Airfare in 2009 was the lowest in years. Airlines have been getting about 20% more per mile flown this year, which is similar to 2007 and 2008 levels.

There's no need to book so soon, and $879 may indeed be a little high. And if the economy goes down the drain again, you may see much cheaper fares then.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 09:50 PM
  #3  
 
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artstuff,

Most airlines will refund you the difference if the airfare drops after you have purchased your ticket. Read the fine print. Even Orbitz or the Expedia types may offer you the same deal.

I would not count on getting a lower airfare. April is a popular time to go to AMS. Airfares have been depressed for a long time and airlines are doing all they can to keep prices higher. Reduced capacity and higher demand for air travel are not working in your favor along with the possibility of fuel surcharges.

I suggest you see if you will get a refund if you ticket price falls before you travel then purchase the cheapest ticket you can find today.

www.dmbflyingcoach.blogspot.com
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 03:00 AM
  #4  
 
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Most airlines will charge you a fee to get that fare difference. And often only in the form of a voucher. Be very very careful when you follow the advice from the above post.

Anyways, yes, it's too early to get ticket now.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 03:58 AM
  #5  
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Thank you for your replies.

We've been tracking the fares for several months now, and recently the price jumped by $10-$20. A friend that we are travelling with got all excited and suggested we buy now before the price goes up again. This is our fifth trip to Amsterdam in the spring, and we traditionally wait until after the winter holidays to buy our tickets. I'm just not sure what to do in this year's volatile air fare market.

I should probably mention that there are 9 of us travelling together, although we will be buying our tickets individually so we can all use our points. Everyone's waiting for our call to say "Buy Now!" My thought is to wait until late November at the earliest.

Robyn
artstuff is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 05:59 AM
  #6  
 
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artstuff,

I hope you find a cheap ticket. Do us all a favor and post what price you end up with when you finally purchase your tickets.

If you travel often, a refund in the form of a travel voucher would not be a bad idea. The point is, as long as the airline will refund you the difference if ticket prices fall then what have you lost?

An indicator of where ticket prices are headed can be tied directly to the cost of energy ... crude oil. Look at November-December future prices and it may give you some idea.

Airlines may offer discount tickets for Jan-Mar time period when air travel slows down after the holidays. As you are aware in April, the flowers are in bloom in Holland and it is a popular time to visit there.

Even if you wait until late November, you will still face one of the same issues I mentioned earlier. Will the airline refund you the difference if the price falls?

READ THE FINE PRINT BEFORE PURCHASING YOUR TICKET WHENEVER YOU DO SO.

Be careful following the advice above or below
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 06:10 AM
  #7  
 
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As a general rule, unless the airlines' schedules are set in stone (like Icelandair's tend to be), I don't like to buy too far in advance, unless you get a terrific fare. There are too many chances that the schedule will change and what was once a convenient flight with a good layover can sometimes morph into a absurd timings. If you do get the aforementioned terrific fare, and the schedule changes, you can try and use the change to wrangle your way into something more convenient but there is always a risk.

Personally, if I were you, I would wait. I have been buying airfare for a while now and I usually end up regretting purchases made too far in advance.

HOWEVER, I will note that this july, I bought two tickets from Expedia to Barcelona and also bought a travel insurance waiver from them. When our plans changes (and incidentally the price of the trip went down), we were able to cancel our original flight and rebook the new one. We lost our travel voucher ($59 each, but this was a flight&hotel package) but we ended up saving money on the new flight and didn't lose any money. Expedia ate the change fee. If you do take this route, make sure you confirm with Expedia to make sure you will only be out the voucher if you rebook.
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I have never found an airline willing to refund (in cash or a voucher) a change in price, but I hear Delta does this. I would interested to hear which airlines do so.
usernameistaken is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 06:17 AM
  #8  
 
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To all the travel experts

Most airlines charge a fee only if you change your itinerary after you have purchased a ticket.

Airlines are getting better at managing capacity (reducing seats or flights available) relative to passenger demands hence do not expect any wholesale discounts on tickets. In general ticket prices like most other goods and services are on the rise.

Everyone wants the best prices but with the volatility of crude oil and fluctuations in air travel demand, finding the lowest price ticket can be a gamble.

Sign up at sites like Travelocity and they will email frequent updates on ticket prices for your selected destination. It is a nice benefit of these sites although most airline ticket sales come with a lot of restrictions.

It is possible there can be no right or wrong time to purchase tickets at the lowest prices. Your best option is to READ THE FINE PRINT concerning refunds if prices fall and hope that when you roll the dice you do not crap out.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #9  
 
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I think Continental and Lufthansa have had sales for fall tickets, and there are probably others, but I don't think all the airlines meet in secret and agree to have a sale for certain dates.

I think it is far too early to buy tickets for April as I don't see any incentive for an airline to offer a great price this early. I would continue monitoring fares and if a great one comes up, grab it. The size of your group may work against you, as sales are generally for a limited number of seats, and I suspect sales don't apply if you are using miles (or are you using third party points, where they buy the ticket for you).

My understanding is that very few airlines offer a refund if the price goes down, but some do. I'd want to see some names before changing my opinion.

One argument about buying so soon is that plans change, and altering a ticket exposes you to the infamous change fees. You can largely avoid change fees by buying a full fare ticket, but a full fare ticket in tourist usually costs quite a bit more than a discount ticket and one or two change fees.

I think many airlines make group sales; I don't know if your group is large enough to qualify, but you might want to talk to someone at the airline and see what they can offer.

Also, if you are going to see the tulips, you might look for some organization or group with the same aim that is arranging a charter.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 12:11 PM
  #10  
 
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Clevelandbrown,

Sorry about my Bucs getting your Browns off to a bad start

Airlines like any other company only offer sales when they need to generate business. The fall before Thanksgiving and late winter before Spring Break starts is when this usually happens.

For me the question becomes what is a great price and how much do you want to stress about getting it? For most people travel is a luxury and while getting a cheap ticket is a good deal, I do not quite understand passengers sweating over $20-40 on a roundtrip ticket when they will pay $80 a week to park at the airport or $200 a night for a hotel in Europe.

Yes, now maybe too early to purchase a ticket for April 2011 but I wonder what the difference of "artstuff" ticket prices will be from now to when they are eventually purchased. I hope they lets us know.

You are correct sales do not apply to "mileage or third party tickets". Group discounts normally require 20 or more travelers. Southwest may do so for less.

Airline refund policies can become complicated, so read the fine print. With better yield management finding cheap ticket prices to popular destinations especially international ones could be quite a gamble.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 06:54 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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First, I agree it's too early to buy if it's not a great price. No incentive. Keep your eye out on promotion discounts - 10% off codes, etc. in the meantime.

Second, while I only fly American and United, both have charged me a fee of $150 (more for int'l, I think) to make changes to my itin plus the difference in fare. In some instances, the fare was so much lower (say $250) that I'd get a voucher for $100 to use within a year (of when the ticket was originally purchased). This has been the case for me even for deep discount economy fares which is the only type of ticket I purchase. Yapta.com is helpful in notifying you if your already purchased ticket drops in price.

However, I really don't suggest this as a cost-saving measure since $150+ fees eat up any savings of a lower fare. Orbitz has a deal detector option where you set a price and the system automatically notifies you if it drops to that price. This is better than yapta since orbitz checks across airlines and even with a bit of date flexibility.

Good luck!
fishee is offline  

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