Best time to book flights?

Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:37 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Best time to book flights?

When is the best time to buy airline tickets for a November trip? I've never been to St. Lucia and don't know ( being a smaller island ) whether flights fill up quickly or not. I am checking out an AA flight from PHL with one stop and there are plenty of seats left. We've done well recently buying tickets to St. Martin and Jamaica on 3-4 months notice for that time period. Thanks for your help!!
Donna_M is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:54 AM
  #2  
 
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As soon as I am sure of my trip, I buy tix once they are a good price (whatever that is...$300?) It is great that you are starting to look now, b/c you have time to find them at a good price. Good luck!
rungirl2002 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:52 AM
  #3  
 
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Donna,

Based on my experience (trip to St. Lucia last year in early December), I would say that the time to find the best fares might be over the summer (mid-late) when the airlines often have "fall sales". Incidentally, on American, if you buy your tickets earlier, notice that the price drops, and contact them, they will refund you the difference (assuming you can still book your same flights at the lower price). That is what happened with me. I watched fares for a couple of months in the spring and finally purchased in May when I committed to my hotel. Then, over the summer, the fares dropped and I was able to get the refund from AA.
beachdreams3 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:22 PM
  #4  
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That's great to know about AA. The price right now is $680 so I'm hoping they'll drop. I booked the hotel but since there is a lot of empty seats, I thought I'd wait.
Donna_M is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 02:13 PM
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Last year, the normal "best" prices were pretty stable in the low $600s (including all taxes) from the Baltimore/Washington area throughout the winter and spring 2006 I started looking during January because I thought about going in March or April, but then decided to go in December instead). When I saw a fare sale with prices more than $80 cheaper during the summer, I decided to contact AA to see what their policy was. The first agent told me she would issue/mail a voucher for future use on AA. When more time passed and I did not receive the voucher, I called back and the second agent told me the first agent was wrong, and she would issue a credit back to my credit card, and the price had dropped again. I think I ended up paying about $460 or so, and I was thrilled with this savings, since it was totally unexpected.

If I were you, I'd probably wait a while, and buy once you see a fare that is good enough, and then keep watching the fares.

I'm not sure that the fares will go as low this year as last year. I was playing the waiting game with airfares for late April/early May to another island, and they still have not dropped like I heard they did other years.
beachdreams3 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 02:27 PM
  #6  
 
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beachdreams, I don't know how long ago you were able to get a straight voucher for the difference in your airfare from AA, but their policy now is to give issue a voucher for the fare difference LESS a $100 change fee. I'd guess that either you traveled before this became the official policy or that you lucked up and got an agent who just gave you a voucher for the difference.

Either way, it's good for the OP to know because you can still come out ahead if the ticket drops more than $100 for the same itinerary.

Donna, I hope you enjoy St. Lucia--it's a beautiful island and it holds special memories for me as it was the first Caribbean island I visited.
ejcrowe is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:18 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Thanks for the update, Ejcrowe. I would feel terrible if the OP or anyone else relied on my information that was no longer true and was not able to get a refund. Honestly, I'm not surprised American changed the policy. Given other airlines' policies these days, it was very generous (At first I thought the refund without any change fee was a mistake, but lots of other posters on Tripadvisor wrote about having the same experience). Anyway, I traveled last December and received my refund in August or September 2006 I think. I guess it was a good thing while it lasted!
beachdreams3 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 02:56 PM
  #8  
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Thanks for the advice! I checked out Farecompare but they seem to only have info on domestic flights. Does anyone know of any sites that have that kind of info on International/Caribbean flights?
Donna_M is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 03:04 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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I like itasoftware.com. Using the month long search option is a good way to see how traveling different dates impacts price. It also shows prices that you would pay if buying directly from the airlines and does not include the travelocity/expedia ticketing fees.
beachdreams3 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 06:44 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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If you have not bought your ticket already AA fares today are the cheapest i have seen.I bought my tickets 2 weeks ago for Dec. travel and it was $75 cheaper today.I called AA and they promised to credit my card with no penalty.
frankj is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 07:08 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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we're headed to anguilla in nov. and i have been tracking fares for quite a while. i finally bought this weekend as they just weren't going down. on AA with tax etc. tix were 700 each -today they are 800 each so i guess i bought at the right time....seats were getting sparce so that has a lot to do with pricing. good luck!
justme22 is offline  

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