How far ahead do you buy plane tickets?

Jan 24th, 2015, 02:14 PM
  #1  
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How far ahead do you buy plane tickets?

I'm planning a trip to the Baltics, but I want to land in Helsinki first. I've been investigating possible flights and will probably fly Lufthansa out of Seattle. I think I'll spend a night near the Frankfurt airport and then go on to Helsinki the next day when I can get a non-stop SAS flight from Frankfurt to Helsinki.

So anyway, how far ahead would you buy your plane tickets? I'm going at the beginning of June.

I'm traveling alone.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 02:16 PM
  #2  
 
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Usually 6 months out for Europe.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 02:19 PM
  #3  
 
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SAS flies non-stop from SFO to Copenhagen. I would fly that route and then head to Helsinki. Or maybe Norwegian Air Oakland to Helsinki.

I would expect SAS to have a spring sale soon. Do you get emails from them or Norwegian? Sign up so you know when the sales start.
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 02:43 PM
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I usually book about six months ahead. And FYI I've been getting non-stop emails for the past couple of weeks from Lufthansa, KLM, Air France etc. about sales so now might be a good time to buy.
outwest is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 02:55 PM
  #5  
 
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From a WSJ article:

"International ticket prices didn’t fluctuate much between 10 months and three months before departure. Through that seven-month period, the average price of tickets sold range between about $1,000 and $1,150. Then about three months before departure, airlines start raising prices.

Most people book too late to get the lowest price, of course. International tickets get sold, on average, two months before departure. Average cost: $1,368."


http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best...ets-1413999377

I agree with above posters and start seriously following rates about six months out.
29FEB is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 03:19 PM
  #6  
 
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Our trip to France was in the $1600 dollar range for late June and then went to $1138 non-stop on Air France. Booked for 4.

Still have two tickets to book Boston to Nice for early July.

Our Greece trip a few years ago, I waited too long and the cost went up.

Hard to know.
iris1745 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 03:42 PM
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I'm just waiting until the window opens for our trip to Australia and New Zealand in December 2015. The WSJ isn't buying MY tickets but to each their own.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 03:44 PM
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Why not fly Finnair out of Chicago or New York and forget about Frankfurt?
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 03:45 PM
  #9  
 
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Why would SAS even HAVE a sale? And for THAT period?
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 03:55 PM
  #10  
 
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We buy tickets as soon as we have definite plans - for us usually 3 or 4 months out. Have no choice since it's hard to guarantee combined time off sooner than that.

As for your plan - are there no direct flights. To me the night in Frankfurt is a waste when you could be going right on to Helsinki.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 04:56 PM
  #11  
 
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You might want to look at flying into Stockholm as an alternative as there are many cheap flights on to Helsinki. My experience has shown no pattern to air pricing so I just check regularly (every day and multiple times during the day if I can). That way you get a sense for what the market for your destination seems to be and can judge whether a new low price is likely to be your best deal. Google flights is my favorite as the map allows a quick look at other nearby citites. That's not to say you won't find deals on orbitz, travelocity, vayama, skyscanner, etc. Good luck.
dweislaw is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 05:06 PM
  #12  
 
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SAS tends to have sales every few months, and yes, for that period.
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 06:13 PM
  #13  
 
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From Seattle the best connection and price for you will be Icelandair. Also could look at Condor to Frankfurt since they codeshare with Lufthansa.

Pricing timing info online is notoriously unreliable, and what is true for JFK or LAX with lots if competition will not be true for a smaller market like Seattle.

I always buy international 10-11 months out and check back to see if it falls. Prices for my airport rarely if ever go down after they first come out. But MSP has only 7 flights per day to Europe.
tom_mn is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 06:46 PM
  #14  
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I'll do more research before I make a final decision, but one factor I consider will be non-stop flights. Since I fly from the west coast, I always have serious jet-lag, so I want to plan with that in consideration. Non-stop flights make a real difference to me.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 06:52 PM
  #15  
 
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I usually don't book more than a month or two out unless it's a frequent flier ticket.

I prefer to fly directly to Europe from the US if I can instead of connecting in the US. From Portland, we have only one directly flight to Europe, to Amsterdam. (Condor is supposedly going to start flying PDX to Frankfurt again, after Lufthansa stopped flying it a few years ago.). From Seattle you have more direct options to Europe than we do down here, but I think you are on the right track flying direct to Frankfurt if you can. You also have direct flights to London and Paris of course - no idea if any of those give you good options to fly on to the Baltics better than Frankfurt.

Although I don't expect airfares to fall dramatically in the next few months, with fuel prices falling I would not be surprised to see them dip a little more.
Andrew is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 09:01 PM
  #16  
 
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I usually have best luck with 2-3 months out. I typically go to Europe in September returning in October

This year, it wil be July in the south of France. Looking at July 1 - 28, tickets are over $2,000 right now!
joannyc is offline  
Jan 25th, 2015, 03:31 AM
  #17  
 
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I start following prices about three months out. There are no hard-and-fast rules for any particular route, but I always wait to see if there's going to be a fare sale, and these are almost never for very far in the future. Once I start following prices, if I see signs that seats are selling out, I buy. Don't believe the "Two seats left at this price" note, though. I've sometimes bought tickets when only two seats were left a a particular price, only to see that they still had tickets at almost exactly that price.

On my routes, various US to Europe routes, because I buy tickets for my kids, I find fare sales pretty common in February and March.
bvlenci is offline  
Jan 25th, 2015, 04:14 AM
  #18  
 
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We rarely decide on where we are going more than 3 months ahead of time, so that is when we look. If flying to the US we choose either a direct flight or one with a European connection. We avoid US connections completely due to the pain of queuing for immigration and customs and then rechecking and security before getting the next flight.
Flying to SFO last year it was cheaper to fly BA via LHR than fly KLM direct so that is what we did. An extra couple of hours is neither here nor there on such a long flight. We booked it about 4 months out, since we decided early on California last year.

KLM certainly has a sale on at the moment, at least from Europe.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2015, 08:15 AM
  #19  
 
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Here's a possibility for Icelandair return CPH (or anywhere, really)

Seattle to Helsinki

Flight 1 Saturday, June 06, 2015

Departure: 4:30PM Seattle, USA - Seattle Tacoma International
Arrival: 6:45AM +1 day Reykjavik, Iceland - Keflavik International
Airline: Icelandair FI680
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200

Fare type: Economy

Change of plane required. Time between flights : 0:45.

Flight 2 Sunday, June 07, 2015

Departure: 7:30AM Reykjavik, Iceland - Keflavik International
Arrival: 1:50PM Helsinki, Finland - Helsinki Vantaa, terminal 1
Airline: Icelandair FI342
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200

Fare type: Economy

Copenhagen to Seattle

Flight 1 Saturday, June 20, 2015

Departure: 2:30PM Copenhagen, Denmark - Kastrup, terminal 3
Arrival: 3:40PM Reykjavik, Iceland - Keflavik International
Airline: Icelandair FI207
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200

Fare type: Economy

Change of plane required. Time between flights : 1:20.

Flight 2 Saturday, June 20, 2015

Departure: 5:00PM Reykjavik, Iceland - Keflavik International
Arrival: 5:45PM Seattle, USA - Seattle Tacoma International
Airline: Icelandair FI681
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200

Fare type: Economy

For $1500 (would have been closer to $1000 if bought in August)

Condor can get you there 1 hour longer, 1,229.98 US$
Travelers

1 adult
Outbound flight
Economy Classic
Sat, 06/06/2015
3:10 PM Seattle DE
via Frankfurt Int. AY
3:10 PM+ Helsinki
Air transportation charges
Ticket Price 1 Adult(s) 578.44 US$
Taxes and charges 58.55 US$
DE = Condor
AY = Finnair
Return
Economy Classic
Sat, 06/20/2015
7:10 AM Copenhagen SK
via Frankfurt Int. DE
12:25 PM Seattle
Air transportation charges
Ticket Price 1 Adult(s) 524.75 US$
Taxes and charges 68.24 US$
SK = Scandinavian Airlines
DE = Condor
Total price for all travellers

For $1230 which is a good price, I'd take it.
tom_mn is offline  
Jan 27th, 2015, 04:14 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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SAS AirFare SALE! early June, book by Feb 9

SFO to CDG (Paris) RT $769 !!! Limited dates. Act now!

I can't paste link, will try again to do so.
DebitNM is offline  

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