Offseason fares in 2008?

Dec 25th, 2007, 07:41 PM
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Offseason fares in 2008?

Tried booking some fares from SFO to FCO or SVQ in March and then towards the mid or end of October.

I tend to like to take the direct SFO-CDG route so paid attention to AF in addition to DL.

Cheapest I found was March 1-7 on AF, SFO-AMS-FCO and FCO-CDG-SFO for $843.

But if I try the next week, March 8-14, it jumps up to over $1200 (although it routes through CDG for both the outbound and return).

DL is about the same for these dates and it's not any cheaper towards the end of October either. Tried mid February (2/16-2/22) and it was again over $1200 on AF.

So maybe the March 1-7 price is a fluke.

Routes to SVQ ranged from about $1000-1100 for the cheapest to $1200-1300, again following similar date patterns.

Hmm, I'm scared to check what the rates would be from May to Sept. this year.

Yes fuel prices are higher but the economy in the US and Europe are slowing down, not to mention the exchange rate possibly dampening Americans going overseas.

Well in 2006 and 2007, the only time fares to Europe were over $1200 were in the high season.

Anyone finding any differences in planning trips to Europe in 2008? Looks like planning 10-11 months out isn't resulting in finding better fares either.
wco81 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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Hi wc,

I have found that airfares are up about 20-30% over last year.

An identical flight, ATL/MUC-CDG/ATL, went from $787 to $1017 pp from May, 2007 to May, 2008. Same travel dates.

ira is offline  
Dec 26th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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A few days ago, there were extremely good fares from SFO or OAK to Germany - in the sub-$400 range for March, with taxes included. You may have missed that sale on United, but I would give it a try anyway. Fly to a German city, and then take alternate transportation, like a budget airline, to Spain or Italy.
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 26th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Last week I found airfare to CDG from Boston for $637 total for April school vacation and grabbed it. IcelandAire via Iceland. We flew them on the same dates last year to Amsterdam and loved our experience. And it was **less** expensive by about $120 this year.
amyb is offline  
Dec 26th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Which airline Ira?

I was looking at fares to Europe for Thanksgiving and this week between Xmas and New Years.

There's some variance between airlines.

Unfortunately Will, I'm kind of wedded to the Skyteam frequent flyer program. One of my motivations for traveling in 2008 would be to maintain status, although I've already booked an award ticket to Italy.

But I'm noticing that AA, United and Luftansa are coming up a couple of hundred dollars or more cheaper than Delta or Air France to a lot of European locations.

Maybe it's time to change programs or start accumulating miles on another program.

But then again, there are rumors of mergers or takeovers between Delta and United, which probably means higher fares still.

Delta and some other airlines are cutting back domestic routes (meanwhile, foreign carriers will be able to compete for some domestic routes).

Delta is shifting more routes to the more lucrative international markets.

But with these high prices and high exchange rates, how much longer will international travel by Americans continue to grow?
wco81 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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I got an email from Northwest today with sales to Europe with fares valid through March 9th. Try their flexible search option.

Prices are much higher this year. We paid $560 RT LAX-CDG last March and the same flight is close to $1K!
mv_rd is offline  
Dec 26th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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I don't know how much you travel, but so far I haven't found it pays off to focus on one alliance only. If I have a $400 ticket on my non-preferred alliance, and a $700 ticket on my preferred alliance, there's no way I'd get $300 worth of benefits by choosing the more expensive one. I think this is true even if the amounts were $400 and $450. But for some people it might be different. So, I'm currently split, with my limited travel, between Star Alliance and Sky Team.
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 03:39 AM
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>Which airline Ira?


ira is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 04:15 AM
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Probably right.

But I have amassed enough miles and it's nice to get upgrades or award tickets in high season.

One temptation is FF credit cards with various promos too.

If I sat down and did the calculations, I might arrive at the same conclusion, that a few hundred dollars more to accrue miles are not worth it.

But as it is, I'm paying higher fares to travel on weekends, because traveling in the middle of the week would require more vacation days and that has been worth a couple hundred dollars more for airfare to me.

It's just astounding the difference in store for 2008.

Maybe there will be a slowdown in travel (with the economy and exchange rate and high prices) and the airlines will post deals.
wco81 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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"Maybe there will be a slowdown in travel (with the economy and exchange rate and high prices) and the airlines will post deals."

I would not assume that. Higher fuels prices will cause the airline to simply cut service. The airlines are heading into the perfect storm, high fuel costs and a very weak dollar.

Buy your ticket as soon as you can.

copain1 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 08:37 AM
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That USA Today article is saying they're shifting their resources from domestic to international, which are more lucrative.

But they may find demand isn't quite what they anticipated for the reasons previously cited.

I know in past years, I'd book almost a year in advance only to hear about sales in March or April for travel in May or June.
wco81 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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One caveat though, about domestic vs. international.

If you have to fly from the West Coast, you may need to use domestic segments before crossing the Atlantic.

Unless you use one of the foreign carriers which have direct flights to Western European hubs.
wco81 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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Yes fares are up but not that much. I just booked 12/16 for my daughter and friend SFO-VCE, Nap-SFO
1211.00 including taxs etc. Fare part was 989.00 balance tax, security etc.
This is for 9/21/08 return 10/9/08
They had cheaper fares but times were awful. I used Vayama and airone has some great deals as well.
JoanneH is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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I also agree that I wouldn't waste a workday for most better fares. But the United deals also worked for weekends, and they had some nonstop flights between Europe and the West Coast as well, although it was difficult to get nonstop both ways on the cheapest fares. Actually, the United deals are still on for some German cities, although a lot harder to find. Airfare Watchdog sent an update yesterday, and I looked and found them still available.
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 11:54 AM
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$1211 at the end of September isn't that great is it?

I paid about that much for SFO-FLR in May 2006, which is supposedly high season in Florence.
wco81 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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We just bit the bullet and purchased flights on Continental for May 2008. Sacramento to CDG via Houston for $1433 pp. Yikes!

I had been tracking fares and hoping they would go down sometime in January. But last night I checked our prefered flight on Continental, and seat were filling up fast on the Houston-CDG leg, so we decided to buy. We could have spent about $200 less per person on American or NWA, but the travel and layover times were worse with those options.

I can't compare to 2007 because I didn't travel to Europe this year. However, it is much higher than 2004 when we went to Italy for about $700 pp. Not to mention 2001, when I went to Paris for $500.

Oh well, such is travel these days.
lauraallais is offline  
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