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open jaw prices?

Old Jan 31st, 2006, 08:01 AM
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open jaw prices?

I've starting to keep an eye on flights for my trip to Europe this fall. I will be flying out of Indianapolis to Paris on 9/7 and returning to Indianapolis from Amsterdam on 9/17. I generally have a good "feel" for prices on direct flights, but my open jaw itinerary has thrown me off. Right now, I've found an itinerary I like on United via Chicago for about $850 (including fees and taxes). Having paid $767 to fly to Paris last September, this seems reasonable to me. What do you think?

Also, do you have an opinion about buying plane tickets far in advance? Last spring, I passed up some really great fares for my fall trip b/c I wanted to avoid the situation, if at all possible, where the airline cancels my flight or changes the times in such a way as to make the itinerary difficult. Plus, so many of the airlines had either already filed or were contemplating bankruptcy.

Anyway, I'd love to hear your opinions. Thanks!

Kate
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 11:12 AM
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I'm no expert but will top this post and see if you can get more replies.

For me, I care more about having a great itinerary - an airline I like, nonstop flights, good time of day, things like that more than saving a buck (within reason).

After I purchase a ticket, then I stop watching fares.
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 11:43 AM
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I'm with Suze on this one. I do some research before I plan my vacation itinerary. Once my itinerary is set, I determine a price that I am willing to pay for a flight. Once I find a good flight itinerary at or below that price I purchase it and then quite looking.

This is just a thought, but Indy isn't too far from Chicago. We live in St. Louis and saved over $500 ($250 a piece) by purchasing flights from Chicago to Rome as opposed to St. Louis to Rome. That may be an option if you want to save money, but one would have to determine if driving (or flying) to Chicago is worth it.

Tracy
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 11:51 AM
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I frequently fly open jaw. A couple of things I keep in mind - I price a round trip ticket to both places and I find that the open jaw price is about in the middle of the two. If you don't do open jaw, you need to figure out how much it will cost (in time and money) for you to get back to the "first" airport to fly home. If it is more than the "extra" cost for open jaw, then the open jaw is a better deal. I generally find it to be best to do the open jaw rather than make the full circle back. Hope this helps you.

Have a fun trip!
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 12:11 PM
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I think the advice to price RT to both places and then decide. But Amsterdam is only a 4 hour train ride from Paris if the cost seems to be a whole lot more flying open jaw.
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Its been my understanding and experience that an open jaw fare is equal to half of two round-trip fares (one to and from each destination).

I wouldn't worry about their changing your flight if you buy now, as I understand when they make a material change to your flight, you can get a full refund. Once they changed my return flight, adding some inconvenience for me, but not making the flight impossible. I checked other airlines and found a cheaper, more convenient flight, got my refund, and bought the cheaper tickets.

Personally, I don't think the price you have found is so outstanding that I would buy now, but that is a decision that is up to you. While I think fuel charges will remain high, you are travelling after the very busy season (people with kids in school have to be home before then), so I think there will be competitive reasons for lower prices. but I also doubt that you will find $400 tickets, so how much are you willing to risk to save, perhaps, $50 or $100?

I continue to monitor prices, even after I have bought, mostly so I will have an idea what to look for the next time I take a similar flight. Also, on my favorite airline the change fee is only $100, so if the price dropped enough, I would pay the fee and still save. On the other hand, it is nice to have a ticket in hand when you see that the cost of an identical ticket has soared.

My wife and I fly to Alaska tomorrow with tickets I bought three weeks ago for $580 each; the cost of the same seat, yesterday, was listed as $2100! From this, I learn that buying at the last minute is not a good idea.

One big savings I have found is in avoiding airport parking. In my area, long term parking for a two-week trip costs about $150; a round trip taxi, with a generous tip, is $30. We have a rail line to the airport, round trip is $6, for two.
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 12:24 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I just priced roundtrip flights from Indianapolis to both Paris and Amsterdam on United and the open jaw is, as several of you suggested, somewhere in the middle. Ironically, flights from Indianapolis are cheaper than those from Chicago. So, at least for now, it makes sense for me to fly from Indy. I have to say that the logic behind airfares is beyond me.

I'll just keep pricing for the time being. If I find something below $800.00 and like the intinerary, I'm buying it!

Kate
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 12:33 PM
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Hi Indy,

If you are comfortable with your $850 fare, take it.

I think that there is only a 40% chance of prices going down. There is a 60% chance they will go up.

I base this on my last three visits to Europe, when I bought tickets in Feb for Sept.

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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 01:25 PM
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Try reversing your open jaw, too--that can change the price.

Sometimes open jaws are more expensive, sometimes not. It just depends on supply, demand, and the airline's marketing strategy.
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Forgive me for asking what seem like a silly question. But, apart from using Expedia or another web site to book, how would one book an open-jaw ticket if, for example, I would need to use two different airlines which are not members of the same network: Iberia and Air France, for example? Let's say I wanted to fly JFK-Madrid on Iberia and then Paris-JFK on Air France? Do I have to go through a travel agent? Thanks!
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 02:00 PM
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the situation above sounds like two separate tickets rather than the traditional use of the term "open jaw". i'll be interested to hear an answer to that one.
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