Airline Ticket Pricing

Old Dec 7th, 2002, 06:02 AM
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Airline Ticket Pricing

Planning a trip to Italy leaving United States mid September 2003 for three weeks. I have been trying to plan air transport,but the web sites (direct airlines and consolidators) seem high-granted I have limited experience. The prices I am seeing is $1400-$1600 each.

When would be the best time to purchase airline tickets-or should I assume these prices to be the optimal.

I am assuming the best approach would be to arrive and depart the same airport (open jaws must have some price penalty).


Old Dec 7th, 2002, 06:12 AM
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Open jaws usually do NOT have a price "penalty", and it is amazing to me, how often I have seen an open jaw cost less than a simple roundtrip to either city!

I predict that you will find fares of $900 or less if you search carefully, starting in March - - though it could be as late as July that you find the best deal.

But silly me (and you) for speculating on a fare without knowing where in the Unitedstates this fare is supposed to originate!

Clearly, Boston and Boise have different fares to Italy.

And don't overlook the possibility that you might sace considerably by flying into London (or other cheaper gateways) and taking one of the many cheap fares withIN Europe to Italy.

Best wishes,

Old Dec 7th, 2002, 08:00 AM
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Not sure what you mean "price penalty"....paying a higher fare for going into one city and leaving out of another?Sometimes it is dramatically less expensive,you just have to try the pricing.And of course weigh it against what you want to do.But with the impending bankruptcy with United on the immediate horizon,the gurus are all advising that in their humble opinions,fares from everywhere to everywhere will be on sale.
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 08:43 AM
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Hi Keith,
Don't assume that you'll get lower prices by booking early. for my recent trip, I had been watching fares from DC to Paris for a year. The prices stayed pretty constant until a few months before my trip, then started to slowly decline. I finally bought tickets about 6 weeks before my travel date and was a little annoyed to see the prices drop much farther about 3 weeks from the flight. However, I'm guessing that's because the economy was getting worse, not better. A year from now, the economy might be picking up steam and airlines might be able to start raising prices.
Other people probably have more experience than I do, but I don't recall seeing much price benefit to booking more than 3 months ahead of time.
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 12:25 PM
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I have been haunting the internet for over six month in anticipation of our trip next May. I came to the conclusion that economical ticket first appear about six months before the travel date, then disappear about a month or two before the travel date. Since I wanted some certainty, I excluded the crap-shoot type of tickets where you bid blindly at the last minute; you may do well with them, or you may end up having to buy business class at the last minute.

Base on this pattern, corroborated by our local travel agent, who is a consolidator, I anticipated finding lower fares beginning in October, and so did the agent. Guess what? We are two months past that, and they still haven't appeared. I think this is because of the economy and politics, but I think it is just a delay, and I expect to find a good fare sometime in the next few months.

As to open jaw fares, I don't know how to compare the prices, but the convenience of not retracing your steps seems well worth any additional cost. It seems to me the trouble with open jaw fares is that they are a lot harder to find. The airlines seem to never have heard of them, and even a lot of web sites that claim to offer the lowest fares don't seem to have open jaw tickets. My understanding is that they are available primarily from consolidators, which is not really a bad thing, as they also seem to have the lowest prices, other that the occasional ridiculous special offered by the airlines.
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 12:39 PM
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While I have no direct experience to cite with them, it might be worth your while to look into
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 01:07 PM
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Dave Barry said it best: "The airline fare computer is an immensely powerful computer that someone apparently spilled Hawaiian Punch into the brains of."

Finding cheap fares is like trying to forecast the weather, or predicting what lame excuse Saddam Hussein will use next, or predicting what lame excuse Bill Clinton will use next. Check your airline's website several times a day and you'll see the fare fluctuate, even for the same flight that you looked at 2 hours ago.
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 02:54 PM
Jim Rosenberg
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Keith, the prices you are seeing now are definitely NOT optimal unless there is a considerable run-up in average fares for that time of year in 2003. Keep monitoring and you should be able to find a point at which you will be able to get it done for at LEAST $500 less per person (and I'm saying that without even knowing where you plan to depart from). Keep calm. I'm guessing you won't see your best prices until sometime between May and July, but if you catch a good fare before then you'll want to lock in. As others have pointed out, there are always going to be some wild cards in the deck.
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 02:55 PM
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$1,400-1,600 are more like the OFFICIAL prices.

And I think it's WAY TOO EARLY to purchase tickets now, for a trip 10 months away... Most airlines don't even have published rates for next September...

Whenever I fly to Europe I use European airlines. In your case -- Alitalia. I don't know where you're flying from, but if Alitalia has service from your place, use it.

The way to do it, is check with a travel agent that works with an Alitalia CONSOLIDATOR (I don't have experience with web-consolidators). They purchase a large number of seats on every flight, and they charge a LOT less than the price you mentioned, more like half that price...
Old Dec 8th, 2002, 09:21 AM
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to the top
Old Dec 8th, 2002, 11:05 AM
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Keith: From east coast (NYC and Boston) and midwest (Detroit and Chicago) gives its lowest ticket price to Rome and back from Venice in the range from $821 to $1020. This for leaving on Friday Sept.12 and back on Oct. 12. I am finding these days that expedia gives very good ticket price and has options open jaws for online enquiry. Hope it helps.
Old Dec 8th, 2002, 11:08 AM
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Oops!!! I meant Oct. 5 for return.
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