Airfare to Italy

Old Feb 6th, 2023, 06:51 AM
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Airfare to Italy

We are experienced travelers, currently in the early stages of planning a trip to Italy for September of this year. Realizing that it is early to be booking airfares, we have been somewhat shocked at the prices being quoted right now. Our home airport is PHL, but we are also looking at JFK, Newark, and Dulles. The best round trip, non-stop price to Rome currently being offered, including a checked bag, is $1,100 in and out of JFK, and $1,200 from EWR. The numbers for similar itineraries out of PHL and IAD are in the $1,500 - $1,600 range. One stop fares can be had in the $800 - $900 range, but these invariably include a very long layover somewhere, making for 20 hour or more travel times, which is a non-starter for us.

I am set up for alerts on changes to these fares, and interestingly, about two weeks ago, prices dropped $350 - $500, pretty much across the board, but only for a couple of days, then returned to the very high levels quoted above. I have no idea what triggered this reduction, but hope that it will appear again.

I know there are no magic formulas that will predict when the fares will be at their lowest, and I did read somewhere that approximately 4 months prior to departure is generally the best time to commit, which would suggest waiting until May to book. Any guidance from others on the smartest time frame would be appreciated. Should we expect that there will be significant drops at some point over the next few months? Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 07:50 AM
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My partner and I recently purchased tickets for summer travel to Italy and have seen some of the same prices/conditions you have found. We're not able to travel together due to work schedules, so we plan to meet in Florence. My flight, mid-July out of JFK was $825 r/t to Naples with a brief layover in Dublin. His, at the end of July, is out of Boston with a similar brief layover in Dublin, and cost $745. Both flights are Aer Lingus, carry on only. While I understand that some recommend waiting to purchase plane tickets until closer to travel dates, I'm personally not comfortable with that, especially when we'll be moving around Italy a bit which will require booking accommodations in 5 or 6 locations. How do you book places to stay or organize a trip without knowing when and where you'll be arriving and departing? My philosophy for plane tickets is keep your eyes open, be familiar with your options and when you see one that you find to be a good value, pounce on it.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 08:02 AM
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If there was some way of forecasting when fares would be cheapest, everyone would use it, but then the airlines would adjust things to negate it. The revenue management algorithms used by the airlines are just too complicated, and too secret, to make second guessing anything more than just that - guessing.

My own guess (worth every cent you're paying for it) is that it's a little unlikely that fares will come down dramatically between now and September, but by the same token I doubt if they'll go up very much either, barring some unforeseen event - recession, fuel cost spike, etc. So it's going to come down to your price sensitivity, coupled with your appetite for having the trips take longer than you'd like.

For example, I can see round trips from PHL to London for around $675 during September, and round trips from Heathrow to Rome for around £110 for the same dates. Obviously you'd want to leave plenty of time between flights as these would be on separate tickets, but the total - around $800 - would be significantly cheaper than the nonstop prices from Philly, with the difference more than paying for a night's hotel (or a couple) in order to get over jetlag. I haven't done a similar exercise using Milan rather than Rome as a destination, but it might be worth examining.

Otherwise, keep on doing what you're doing. Set fare alerts, check from time to time, and when you see a fare/schedule you can live with, book it and don't look back.


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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 08:03 AM
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Living on the Canadian west coast those prices all look good compared to what I'm seeing for trips to London and Europe I am looking at. There seems to be a lot of travel demand so I don't think prices will drop significantly. Having said that sometimes if you play around with days of the week you find a better deal.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 08:59 AM
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Thanks for all of your suggestions so far.
nylilly and Gardyloo - I did look at the two-ticket option through London, but we didn't see prices in the range that was mentioned - the best I could find, including a checked bag, were still totaling around $1,000. And based on the potential arrival time in London, we would get to our final destination very late on our first night, or alternatively, we'd have to spend an additional night somewhere, so that's not cost effective. Also, couldn't find anything on Aerlingus that would work, and cost significantly less than we'd pay for non-stops.

Is anyone familiar with this airline https://flynorse.com/en-US? They have non-stops JFK - FCO for $794 round trip. Everything is A la carte, and this fare includes a standard checked bag, seat selection, and one meal. The only negative, other than being a small and very new airline (just one year in operation), are that the departure times aren't very convenient - but we could possibly live with those.

Will continue checking.

Last edited by phillyboy; Feb 6th, 2023 at 09:32 AM.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by phillyboy
Thanks for all of your suggestions so far.
nylilly and Gardyloo - I did look at the two-ticket option through London, but we didn't see prices in the range that was mentioned - the best I could find, including a checked bag, were still totaling around $1,000. And based on the potential arrival time in London, we would get to our final destination very late on our first night, or alternatively, we'd have to spend an additional night somewhere, so that's not cost effective. Also, couldn't find anything on Aerlingus that would work, and cost significantly less than we'd pay for non-stops.

Is anyone familiar with this airline https://flynorse.com/en-US? They have non-stops JFK - FCO for $794 round trip. Everything is A la carte, and this fare includes a standard checked bag, seat selection, and one meal. The only negative, other than being a small and very new airline (just one year in operation), are that the departure times aren't very convenient - but we could possibly live with those.

Will continue checking.
It would help if we knew your dates.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 11:18 AM
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Roughly September 12 - 29 - it could vary by a day or 2 either way, if it makes a significant difference in the fare, we have some flexibility.
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 12:19 PM
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Norse Atlantic Airways rose from the ashes of Norwegian, and is using their planes, plus some it has leased elsewhere. The flights to Rome haven't yet started.



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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 12:58 PM
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According to Norse Atlanticís website, flights to Rome start in June.
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Old Feb 8th, 2023, 09:19 AM
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We're traveling to Rome last week in Aug first week in Sept and booked direct flights from Newark $1,300 pp this week. They have been pretty consistent in this range so I don't think they will go down. Prem prices were in fact going up.
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Old Feb 9th, 2023, 03:16 AM
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Actually, in the past 2 days, the nonstop, RT fare from PHL dropped by $275. Also, for whatever crazy reason, we discovered that, by moving our dates back by one week, the nonstop, RT fare from JFK - FCO fell to $728, a drop of almost $400. This is not Basic Economy, but upgraded economy, which allows seat selection and a checked bag. If we can work out these new dates with traveling partners, I canít imagine we could do much better.
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Old Feb 9th, 2023, 05:48 AM
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That's a great fare!
Have you looked at TAP out of IAD (Dulles)?
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Old Feb 9th, 2023, 05:19 PM
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Hi Jangita -Yes, we are looking at TAP out of Dulles, our friends that we are traveling with will be flying from there, and that's a possibility for them. So far, the the fares we are seeing for them aren't nearly as good as those out of New York. But I think if we keep plugging away, we can both get fares in the $750 - $850 range.
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Old Apr 9th, 2024, 10:13 AM
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I have a party of 7 travelling to Milan in August and we are finding similar prices. Boston was $1,100 and the local airport was $1,450. Definitely not as good as last fall. We chose to fly locally as both had 1 stop but the local flight had shorter layovers and I don't need to spend $350 for parking. The thing that made it somewhat tolerable is that if the ticket prices go down, you can get the difference in future flight credits. While I won't get money back, we do travel enough that it won't be wasted. This was on United in the economy class with one checked bag and seat selections.
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Old Apr 10th, 2024, 08:28 PM
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I am going Phoenix to Naples RT in November. Got some prices in the $850 range and while I was in the middle of a month long trip to Provence, somehow, for some reason decided to check the price. AA for $558 RT. I snapped it up. Up to $725 at my last look see. I almost believe it is the luck of the draw, I certainly can't figure it out.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 06:07 AM
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The thing that made it somewhat tolerable is that if the ticket prices go down, you can get the difference in future flight credits.

Never heard of this, how does it work?
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 02:55 AM
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I've flown Norwegian in the past. I was quite satisfied with their planes and their service. I was sorry when they folded.
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8
The thing that made it somewhat tolerable is that if the ticket prices go down, you can get the difference in future flight credits.

Never heard of this, how does it work?
This only works when you're booked in a class of service that allows for changes. Just log into your account and change your flight to the cheaper flight and you will be issued a flight credit automatically. If it's the same exact itinerary, you might have to contact a representative as I've only tried it by making a small change. One time I went with a flight that had a long layover due to it being cheaper. When the preferred itinerary dropped to be lower than the one I booked, I changed it and got the flight credit. Another time I had a 10 day trip planned. After I purchased the original tickets, I would still search periodically for cheaper prices. A couple weeks later I found that if I left a day earlier making it an 11 day trip, I could save some money on airfare. Again, I just took the money as a credit for a future flight.

We are flying on United for our Italy trip in August. Airfare is a bit high out of our small local airport but the logistics are perfect. One stop each way at EWR, 1 hour outbound and 3 hours inbound (good for customs as our travel companions don't have Global Entry). If the price drops, we take the credits and just use them on next years trip. Yes, it still costs money, but at least we didn't miss out on the lower fare. We take one or two trips a year so we will use them eventually.

I've only used this on Delta, United, and American so I'm not positive if other airlines allow it. Also, you have 1 year to use the credits starting from the original date of purchase or they expire.
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 06:51 AM
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jlm43 - thanks for the detailed response. After watching airfares to Munich for Sept for about a month, they finally dropped enough for us to take the plunge (UA Premium Economy). Still higher than we'd like, but wanted to grab them while the grabbing was good. We're also headed to Italy (Dolomites), by way of Austria.

We too, are leaving from a small airport, with one stop in Houston. Seems most of the lower fares these days involve two or more changes, and we'd like to avoid that if at all possible.

Good to know about the credits - I think our tickets allow changes, but will have to double check.

Have a good trip.
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8
jlm43 - thanks for the detailed response. After watching airfares to Munich for Sept for about a month, they finally dropped enough for us to take the plunge (UA Premium Economy). Still higher than we'd like, but wanted to grab them while the grabbing was good. We're also headed to Italy (Dolomites), by way of Austria.

We too, are leaving from a small airport, with one stop in Houston. Seems most of the lower fares these days involve two or more changes, and we'd like to avoid that if at all possible.

Good to know about the credits - I think our tickets allow changes, but will have to double check.

Have a good trip.
Enjoy your trips as well.
For us, I'm not too worried about the cheapest price anymore. Just find a reasonable price on a one stop flight with a short layover and hope for the best. If and when the price drops, I'll take the credit and be happy.
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