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I know, I know - but when to buy an airfare to Madrid?

I know, I know - but when to buy an airfare to Madrid?

Mar 2nd, 2016, 07:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
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I know, I know - but when to buy an airfare to Madrid?

I'll say in advance, I know no one can answer this question authoritatively as there are too many variables. But here goes.

My son is looking into a summer Spanish program in Madrid that runs from late June to late July. He has some flexibility on when he goes, but not lots because he will be on a tight budget. We were looking at flights a few days ago, and $1300-1400 seemed to be about as good as could be done, even with student fares. He's not yet certain he's going to go and probably won't be for another month, so it's too soon to purchase. Based on historical precedent, what might he expect to happen with fares? Do they [often] hold steady or drop this far/close to the date?
artsnletters is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 08:57 PM
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Have you considered using Norwegian to get him as close as possible, then train or cheap flight onward? I suspect you'd pay noticeably less than what you've seen and they also sell 1-way tickets, in case he isn't sure of his return date.
MmePerdu is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Fares during high season, in this case summer, do not drop and often go up as the discounted seats are sold. Remember, since the consolidation of the major airlines the last couple of years, there are fewer seats available during some periods.
Robert2533 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 09:23 PM
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What Robert said. Also, from where are you flying? One option could be to fly to London, which usually offers more competitive fares (if cheaper from your city) and then see how much a budget airline like Ryanair or Easyjet would charge London-Madrid.
cruiseluv is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:10 PM
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He'd be flying from SFO. Sorry I forgot to include that detail.

We'd already thought about flying into a different city and then taking one of the superbudgets to Madrid. I will look into Norwegian. Do you know what cities they fly to?
artsnletters is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:19 PM
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Have you tried www.statravel.com? My granddaughter studied abroad and this was always the place for the best rates.
txhomes is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:24 PM
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Here's the website: http://www.norwegian.com/us

They use Oakland and have flights to Madrid through Gatwick. I just had a look & I'm shocked to see the lowest fares coming in around 1400.

I suggest you spend some time on their site and see if you can come up with a combination that can reduce it somewhat, maybe in combination with a Euro low-fare carrier. I repeat, I'm shocked and disappointed that their fares have risen to this extent, especially considering lower fuel costs. It looks like everyone plans to gouge us this summer.

You might also play around here, if you haven't already:
MmePerdu is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:39 PM
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Did some looking at Norwegian, and that didn't help. I'm just going to hope he can get to the point of being sure he's going really soon.
artsnletters is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 05:26 AM
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Your question is not clear. Is the young man looking for internal European travel as part of his trans-Atlantic ticket, or as a weekend break during his residency? Trans-Atlantic, I have never heard of student or youth discounts. Sudden price drops, particularly in summer, have been increasingly rare the last two years. In Europe, internal flights can be bought at quite low fares, on a one-way basis, but require commitment to travel far in advance for the cheapest rates. Essentially, fares on the budget airlines go one way: Up. Trains, and maybe buses, are viable for shorter travel but again tickets for inter-city travel are often (not always) much cheaper bought well in advance.
Aside from the ITA link provided above, here are two basic research tools. www.seat61.com has all he needs to know about rail travel, and then some. www.skyscanner.com links to many budget airlines that may not turn up on ITA.
I hope it goes without saying that if he is adult enough to travel on his own, he should be central to doing the research. And Skype will be his parents' best friend if he is lucky enough to be able to go.
Southam is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 05:44 AM
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I actually booked a trip on American to Madrid from NYC in June for $875. Made the reservation in late January. My best advice would be to check the fares daily as occasionally they dip for a brief period. I did the same thing for a trip to London last summer and paid around $800.

You can also try using some of the travel sites to check multiple airlines rates: Orbitz, CheapoAir, Travelocity etc.

Good luck!
RetailCodes is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
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A few weeks ago we bought tickets from NYC to MAD with a stop in Dublin for $720 each on Aer Lingus. We were on a number of travel site alerts and checked the fares daily.
IMDonehere is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 07:13 AM
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Your problem appears to be SFO. I can see 45-day round trips out of either LAX or Vancouver BC for $1000 or thereabouts most days in June. A separate ticket to LAX or YVR would cost around $100 one way, or you could drive it I suppose. You'd need to be sure you allow plenty of time between arriving at LAX/YVR since he's be traveling on separate tickets with no "protection" in case of a missed flight.
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 08:16 AM
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Flights from the west coast to Europe are normally more expensive if you have to connect in the midwest or on the east coast. There's no way around it.

Discount carriers like Norwegian Air are fine if you happen to live near where they fly out of and want to go where they go, and on the dates they fly.

You may want to contact an agent that has access to consolidator fares, something not available to the general public.
Robert2533 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 08:35 AM
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Since he is not even sure yet, I would just wait. Fares for June and July may go down but they are unlikely to go too much higher. Right now, we are still seeing the sales for spring travel. Summer is right around the corner.

Last year I flew to Barcelona in late August (from San Diego) and I did not buy my ticket until July - one month before. I watched fares for months, they hovered around $1300, then they went to $1000 (on Lufthansa)one day and I got my ticket. Gardyloo is right, you might find some better deals in and out of LAX but you'd still have to pay to get him to and from LAX.

You have time. Just keep watching and when he is ready to make a decision, look every day.
rialtogrl is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 09:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Agree--when I booked my GD's flight from Boston to Nice last April for July, all the flights were between $1400-$1700 hundred. [With the exception of Norwegian and I didn't want her on a long flight for only a weeks vacation.]

One Saturday evening on Lufthansa, $933. BOOKED
iris1745 is offline  
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