Buying Plane Tickets 101

Oct 12th, 2015, 03:23 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11
Buying Plane Tickets 101

I'm an amateur and need assistance from someone who has ticket-buying experience.
Does the day of the week you buy your plane ticket or the day of the week you plan to depart/return affect the ticket prices?
stephanie70506 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 03:42 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,532
>>Does the day of the week you buy your plane ticket or the day of the week you plan to depart/return affect the ticket prices?<<

Not really. Us 'amateurs' have no ammunition against the airlines

But sometimes flying on say a Wed. might be cheaper than flying on Friday or Monday . . .

When you are looking on the airline's website be sure to click the 'My dates are flexible' or similar box. Then you will get a chart showing the 2 or 3 days on either side of your date. And some days will have lower fares.

Also -- since you want to go to Paris and Rome -- you will want to look at Open Jaw tickets, also called Multi-city. That means flying into one city and home from another.
janisj is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 03:59 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,811
Yes and no. Statistically there are some studies on some routes (not your route) on certain period (not when you are flying) in the PAST that showed statistically significant variations. However, in practical terms, it has no relevant to you as a one time buyer. Other variations overwhelms any statistical differences.

If you have time to dabble in this area, it is best to understand the particular market of interest: time of travel where you are heading to. If there are many others wanting do the same and must do it on certain time frame, families with students in June, for example, no profit seeking Airline would pass opportunity to extract maximum revenue out of people who has less alternatives. Last minutes travelers, about 2 weeks before departure, get hosed. The airlines assume these are business people or others who must travel in short notice and would pay any price to travel.

This is one area you really don't have to wait for someone to tell you. Just choose some booking engines and start collecting data trend. You can see it with your eyes for YOUR ROUTE, for YOUR DATES, how the prices change depending on when you look at them. These are real numbers - something you can actually buy.

In the market area, when you travel make more difference than when buy short of last minutes purchase or known peak season. Business routes would charge more on days/hours other business people fly. However you don't need to know this specifically. Just enter different departure/return dates and you can quickly find out which days are expensive to travel. Some booking engines give you a chart of what it cost to fly on certain days.

And finally, you can be effective in how you configure routing. If you are traveling to multiple sites, it is usually NOT NECESSARY to back track to the landing airport. Look at the prices to return home from the different airport. This usually does not add must over the roundtrip flgihts and saves you time and cost to back track. This is called "mutlti-city" option. Some first timers confuse this with two one-way trips and freak out when they see high prices. If your trip require layover, make the carrier responsible for connection foul ups and not you. Resist urge to cobble together different reservations that must be connected in sequence. If there is a foul up, you pay dearly for it unless you add significant layover time to account for the delay of the first leg.

Also, before you hit that "buy" no refundable ticket, make sure your ground arrangement has at least one way to make it work within your budget. Usual mistakes include booking flights without realizing the city you must stay over has a big event going on and you have to pay dearly for the accommodation which could have been easily avoided, such as Oktoberfest. Another classic example is booking a return flight back from a city where it takes a lot of time to get to the airport, for example staying last night in city 5 hours away when your return flight is 6am in the morning.
greg is online now  
Oct 12th, 2015, 04:28 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,532
Now -- aren't you glad you asked
janisj is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 04:54 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,303
Day of week might matter. This summer my flight from Paris cost $200 less if I departed on a Monday instead of Sunday. That paid for another night in the hotel!
Edward2005 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 06:37 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,655
I use matrix.itasoftware.com
use the columns on the left to input your airports, whether/how many changes you'll tolerate, flexible dates, to pull up one month travel prices. This us the industry travel site. It changes almost daily. You cannot purchase tix from it, but it gives a true snapshot of nearly all the major airlines and their prices. Follow it for a few weeks or months, then when a price and itinerary appears that you can live with, go to THAT airlines site and book it!
mokka4 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 08:59 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
<>

This may be a good place to start, but I have found fares to be inaccurate and many airlines add fees for many seat choices. Air France, for example, often has very high seat charges for other than undesirable single seats in the middle rows in the back of the plane and no two seats together. On some flights with some airlines, every seat has an extra fee. The seat fees, to my observation, seem to rise and apply to more seats the closer to your dates you book.

So, when shopping fares for international flights, you really have to click through the booking process to seat selection.

It's also not a good idea to just browse through fares on sites such as Kayak OR shop with the default of one person if there are more. Often, when clicking through there's a message "the fare has changed since your search" (and it's now much higher) or "there was only one seat at that fare" when you change to two or more people.

Fares do not vary significantly between third party site and the airlines' official sites. For that, and a lot of other good reasons, it's really best to book directly with the airline.

Pay attention to times, especially if there's a connection.

If you're still planning to travel in January, shop fares for January 2016 to get an idea of various fares and routes and times.

And, you might want to re-think the Paris-Rome overnight train idea. At least do some research for recent reviews and compare train fares to air fares.

You might also want to check fares for February, March, April 2016 and not assume they'll be much higher than January. Same goes for hotel rates. Though you say you like cold weather, the weather in Paris is nicer in April than March which is nicer than February, etc. January weather will not only be quite cold, it will likely be gray and dreary as well, with very short days. It's far nicer to visit Paris when the weather is nicer and, especially mid-late April when the bulbs and flowering trees are in bloom all over and temps are pleasant for enjoying outdoor cafes, open air bus and boat rides. For January, you'd have to assemble far more and far heavier outerwear (so as not to have to curtail your activities due to lousy weather) than for April when a warm sweater and wind/water proof outer layer would be plenty.
djkbooks is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 06:00 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11
WOW thanks, Greg. and all of you gave me all something to think about. Thanks a bunch. Researching is half the fun!
stephanie70506 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 07:33 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,424
Day of the week definitely matters, it's usually a little cheaper Tu-Thursday (travel days). Sometimes Sat is cheaper than Sunday, etc.

ALl of this is empirical and doesn't matter except for the dates and places you choose to fly, when you can compare rates on websites. And even then, if you have a good reason for a certain date, are you going to change it for $20-30?
Christina is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 08:50 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,363
I'd recommend going to a site like Kayak.com and putting in your planned route. Multi city is definitely the way to go to avoid the backtracking and the ground transportation costs. Once you've checked out the site, you can put out a price alert for your flight. The alert can be set on a weekly or a daily notification. I always choose daily.

Sometimes the listed fare is gone, sometimes not. Kayak usually sends you to the airline website to book in any event, so I'd always follow any price alert to the stage where I enter my cc info to make sure I'm getting the true price.
apersuader65 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 09:27 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 369
Sharing few of my learnings about this till date:

1. Always compare at multiple websites including skyscanner, kayak, momondo, adioso. Many a times, some flights are not available or showing on certain aggregators's website and you might miss out.

2. Depending on whether the destination is business or leisure, weekend or weekday fares can be cheaper. In general, mid-week fares are lower.

3. I have not personally sensed a pattern in witnessing lower fares based on day of the week of browsing. Timing-wise, I think it is more related to duration between booking and flying dates. Too early and fares are not low (airlines put standard rates for flights 6-12 months later). Too late and they price it too high sensing the travelers' desperation. Not to say, I have not found very compelling fares 2 weeks to 1 day in advance for several international trips across continents. But all those cases have been in last minute travel plans and not having booked a flight early on was not a risk I had taken.

4. After having narrowed down the flight and the aggregator website where you found the best deal, go to the particular airlines' website once to quickly check the price. It is not possible to go to 100 airlines' website to check the prices. But atleast, a last minute check for the chosen flight can potentially lead to savings if the airline has listed a cheaper price on its website.

5. Last but not the least, do visit your credit card, loyalty card, membership card websites and check if they have any rebates or discounts offered for any online purchase. Check if any other savings can be had by inputing coupon codes.

6. If you have option between two similarly priced flights with similar schedules, try to pick an airline that is an alliance member of the airline loyalty card you most frequently use for your domestic travels. The miles earnt from your international trip might make your next domestic flight free!

Hope this helps.
rtwin80days is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 09:45 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 17,802

No.


Yes.
NewbE is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:19 AM.