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airfares to Europe this summer -- they seem high to me

airfares to Europe this summer -- they seem high to me

Old Mar 9th, 2012, 10:01 PM
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airfares to Europe this summer -- they seem high to me

I'm planning a trip to Belgium and The Netherlands for late June/early July starting from Los Angeles. I keep checking airfares and am amazed at the $1,400+ rates I see for coach, and I've been checking for several months. I want to fly into Brussels and fly out of Amsterdam. In the past I traveled mostly in May and September but now that I live in the desert I want to get out of the desert heat for a couple of weeks in mid-summer. Should I be booking now or do summer fares drop as the time gets closer? Advice would be appreciated. Diane
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Fares are expected to get higher as the year goes by. Oil prices are the culprit. Nobody can predict the future, but things don't look good this year.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 10:38 PM
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Unfortunately, you're planning to fly in high season when fares are traditionally highest. If you had booked in January you might have found cheaper fares. Two discounters I have used, www.vayama.com and www.cheapoair.com list your flight for around $1400. I doubt the fare will go down.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 11:18 PM
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Minimum you should turn on fare alert such as www.kayak.com. What it gives you is the latest fares plus the chart of the actual price trends.

The kayak one can only do round trips, so you have to set up minimum of two alerts: BRU round trip and AMS round trip and extrapolate the multi-city pricing.

Set the frequency to daily. There was a system wide fare drop at the end of last October that lasted about two days. Setting update frequency to weekly might miss this type of short term price drop, if any. From here on, the occupancies generally go up steadily for summer trips. About the only time price drops as it gets closer to the departure date is a hole in market demand for particular flights. I wonder you might be competing against the Olympics traffic: if people cannot/don't want to fly into LHR where do they go? CDG and BRU and even AMS might be options.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 11:15 PM
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A bit disheartening, but I appreciate the advice.
Diane
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 11:21 PM
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Diane, try a couple of different routes. If you can fly into London or Paris, it should be cheaper. Then, you can take the train.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 12:38 AM
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Before you take that train (which I would usually say is a good idea) factor IN the additional time and cost and ask yourself if it is really worth it.

Air fares are NEVER going to be what they "used" to be, oil prices or not.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 03:25 AM
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I always travel off-season, but this summer we (DH and I) agreed to travel over with a group of my former classmates who are life-long friends. I waited and waited and hoped the fares would go down, but they didn't so I finally bit the bullet and purchased on Wednesday night. I'm still in sticker shock:

Columbus to Venice out, Paris to Columbus return in July: $1592 per.

And, as we all know, the bang for the buck is weakest during the crowded, hot summer. But some of my fellow travelers are teachers and can only do it in the summer. We'll have fun...
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 03:26 AM
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Oh, one more thing, Diane. About traveling to London and taking the train: I don't think this is the summer for a bargain there because of the Olympics.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 03:34 AM
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Fly to London or Paris, then use Ryanair in Europe, you can get extremely good airfares.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 04:06 AM
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I decided to change my travel dates to the first week in November. I had the option of doing this as we didn't have any plans with other people. I just couldn't bring myself to pay the high season fares. I am also used to traveling in off season and really do enjoy less crowds, so I am happy. I am paying $642 for BOS to CDG and BCN to BOS. I will look for a flight on Easyjet or Vueling to get from CDG to BCN. I'm looking forward to it.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 04:58 AM
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Opaldog--how does the Easyjet connection work? If the Boston flight comes in late and you miss the connection, do you lose your money? buy a new tix? Do you reserve a tix or buy when you get there. I've been watching Boston to Greece for awhile and they've started to go up from the $1400 point, so I'm considering your strategy.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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Be very careful with Easyjet and/or Ryanair. If it works, it can be great (and cheap), but it can be tricky. You book point to point and if you miss your plane, you may be out of luck. From their website: «If you miss your flight for another reason, for example if you are held up in traffic or by other transport problems getting to the airport, then as long as you arrive at the airport within 2 hours of the scheduled departure of your original flight, you can transfer onto the next available flight by paying a Rescue Fee.

If you arrive at the airport 2 hours after the scheduled departure of your original flight then you will need to make a new booking»


Also, make sure you factor in the time to change airports if necessary.

You reserve and pay up front on their website. They have very precise luggage specs that you must adhere to. It is all explained in their websites so read through it carefully. No pre-booking of seats, though you can pay extra for priority boarding. After that, it is a cattle call.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 06:09 AM
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And yes, often a flight is less expensive and easier than a train. Buses often are a good option too.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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Oil and.....many governments including the US government have discovered that international flights are great easy sources of revenue via high departure and arrival taxes as well as airport operators. When you see the breakdown of fares, it will make you understand what's going on. And the direction as noted by many is only up and up and away.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 09:46 AM
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Leaving for AMS mid April from NW Montana and retuning from BRU early May. Purchased ticket November 2011 for $938 round trip.
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Jackie: I am flying into Paris from Boston and staying for 4 nights then taking a flight mid trip to Barcelona, staying for 4 days then flying back to Boston. I don't have to worry about making a connection. I have used Easy Jet before with no problems. I am considering Vueling because while they are a bit more expensive, they allow another item in carry on and it appears they have assigned seating, which Easy Jet does not unless you opt to pay for it (I think I am correct on that).
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Old Mar 11th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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John

That is a great price. I am seeing around $1700 from Shreveport, LA to Stockholm in late July. I have never paid that much before. And it has actually gone up since I started checking a couple of months ago. I have tried other gateways and then fly cheap airlines to Stockholm, but still very expensive. So, guess I'll pay it and try not to think about it again.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 04:31 AM
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You can check a myriad of possibilities (dates. airports, when to allow 1-2- or 3-connections, whether to allow an AIRPORT change enroute, etc) at
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/
enter your desired constraints on the left and check various dates, etc
You cannot PURCHASE tickets from this site if a good airfare is found, but rather go to the listed airline and pursue.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 05:06 AM
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"Fly to London or Paris, then use Ryanair in Europe, you can get extremely good airfares."

Unless it's a savings of several hundred dollars I have to kindly disagree with this recommendation. As already mentioned if you miss your flight it can be very expensive. The budget airlines often have restrictions on luggage and checking a bag of any size could cost you. And as SloJan mentioned, there could be an airport change which is expensive and a huge hassle. So at the end of the day you might not save any money at all, or if you do it might not be worth the time and trouble. I've looked into this myself and I have always opted against it.
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