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When is the best time to buy airfare?

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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:06 AM
  #1
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When is the best time to buy airfare?

Hello, I am new here (great site by the way) and in planning a March '10 trip to Ireland I have been reading all over the internet trying to find out when the best time to buy airline tickets. A few weeks ago, when I first decided to go ahead and make the trip, the tickets were quite a bit cheaper than they are now. I held off buying them because all the articles I was reading said to wait until about 6 months out. I was wondering what has your experience been? This will be my husband and I's first real international flight (not counting Mexico) so I haven't really tracked overseas flights in the past and am unaware as to how much they change. Thank you and I have enjoyed reading many of your experiences, I'm sure this board will be a great help in my planning process!

Nikki
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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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For a Mar '10 trip, I don't think you're going to see any potential deals until 3-4 months out. At 6 months, most airlines still don't know what demand for seating will actually be so I usually haven't found any "bargains" that far out.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:16 AM
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i dont know if there is a good time.

Do sign up for www.kayak.com fare alert.

We got tickets for $548.00 RT SEA/AMS. NWA had a one day sale. if i hadnt signed up for fare alert I would never had known. The prices before and after that day have been in the $800-900 range.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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also, someone did a comparison on a random flight and found that there were 66 different prices paid for seats on that one flight.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:28 AM
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ira
 
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Hi Nik,

>When is the best time to buy airfare? <

When prices are at their lowest.

Unfortunately it is almost impossible to tell when that will be.

Example: I bought ATL/CDG tickets for Sept last Feb when I happened across a one-day sale. They stayed the lowest price until mid July, when another sale came along at $20 less. Prices are now about $100 more than I paid.

The reason is that airlines use computer analyses to determine if ticket sales are meeting expectations. Prices are adjusted (hourly, it seems) to optimize the profit per flight.

I think that you will see lower prices for March coming up soon.

Good hunting.

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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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Ditto jetsetj. I paid $500 DTW to LHR via AMS in April, and booked only 3 weeks before flight. I don't mind stopping in AMS because the duty free shop has my favorite cigars and jenever. LHR duty free is limited and pricey.

Some more tips, after you get Kayak's results. Go directly to the airline's site and use the +/- days feature. You can often save plenty by flying on a nearby day. Do your searching after midnight eastern for better deals usually.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:50 AM
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spaarne,
Having been to AMS 3 times, I have yet to try Jenever.
I am intimidated by all the different brands/kinds.
What brand/kind do you like?

How does one order it? How is it served?

thanks
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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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Bing.com does a good job of tracking and notifying u as fares go up and down. I just got an email from Aer Lingus and they had great fares to Ireland from the East Coast for the time period u mention. Doesn't mean they won't offer even better deals closer in.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 07:58 AM
  #9
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Hey thanks for all the tips! I guess I'm just excited about going and want to get everything done right now! It seems like so far away... Thanks again!
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Jul 30th, 2009, 08:01 AM
  #10
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yestravel- I saw the Aer Lingus specials too! Love that the car rental was included. And because of that I am watching flights to JFK too, in case I can get a better deal by using them! Thanks!
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Jul 30th, 2009, 08:03 AM
  #11
 
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The travel industry is so finicky (specially these days...) that you should have no expectations whatsoever that there may be a cycle to it.

This is one way to go about it: decide on an upper $$ limit and then set an email alert at Kayak.com. In the meantime, keep checking and WHENEVER you find a flight within your range buy it irrelevant on whether it is 3, 7, 10, 2 months in advanced. Look into alternate airports.

That said, Ireland is one of those countries where open jaws works much better than rountrip, i.e fly into Dublin, depart from Shannon. Clear this up early. There are so many posts in here on Ireland-bound travelers whose travel route got so much more complicated because they bought the tickets and THEN figured out the logistics...bad move.

The Aer Lingus site is wonderful for flexible travel research. I live close to Boston so travel to Ireland is cheaper than flying out West USA. Agree with tip on kayak: whenever you get a cheap fare from a web consolidator, check the airline and buy from the airline if the rate is offered. If you have trouble with the tickets the airline will have full access to your reservation, including to the financial portion, and help you more willingly if they sold you the ticket.

Keep us posted on your plans; many wonderful posts in Ireland and many wonderful Irish experts willing to help and advise. Have fun!
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Jul 30th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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jetsetj,

Jenever comes in two basic styles, jonge and old. Jonge is my favorite, and what most Dutchies drink. Just ask for a "young-uh." It is served chilled and neat in a small flute filled to over the brim. Normally you have to lean over the bar and sip a little out so you can pick up the glass without spilling a drop.

I usually drink Ketel 1 when I buy a bottle. It comes in a bottle that is exactly like the Ketel 1 vodka sold in the USA. In a bar I just order whatever is in the well.

My favorite bar is the Hoppe, at the Spui. The Cafe Luxembourg a few doors away is also good.

To your health!
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Jul 30th, 2009, 09:15 AM
  #13
 
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As sort of a follow up question, are there any differences in prices for flying on different days of the week? We're planning a trip for June 2010, from Boise, ID to either Shannon or Dublin, then a return flight about 15-16 days later from Paris. Since we're in the early planning stages, I still have quite a bit of flexibility regarding exact dates, but would prefer to fly out on either a Thursday or Friday, and return on either a Saturday or Sunday, but if moving these dates around can save some significant $$$, I'll gladly do it.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 09:25 AM
  #14
 
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Generally, midweek fares for Europe are a bit lower than weekend. But with 8-10 months between now and your travel dates, you should be watching fares on several sites (kayak, orbitz etc as well as the airline sites) to get a feel for how they go up and down and figure what is acceptable (even though you'd prefer smething even lower of course). When you see a fare for your dates that you can live with, grab it and don't look back.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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Just check the fares on some carriers for a few different days of the week to see how they differ. Sometimes they do, sometimes it is related to other things going on around that date, like holidays. It won't usually be "significant", though, changing days of the week, depending on what that means to you. It usually varies around $25 for each day you do that (ie, moving from Friday back to Wed going will save you $25). That's about what it is on Air France, anyway, usually, but sometimes they are sold out of cheaper seats and that affects the price more than the day of the week.

Flying out on Friday is not the cheapest, but Thursday will probbly be good; returning on Sat may be cheaper than Sunday, but Mon-Wed return is probably cheaper.

Don't make big plans around that, it varies by airline and lots of other things, just check the fares.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 09:35 AM
  #16
 
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Thanks for the info. As others have suggested, I've set up some Kayak.com alerts and will do so for Orbitz, etc... as well. I've used Kayak quite a bit, and I'm still impressed with that website.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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griz-- just a fair warning: open jaw travel on weekend days in a summer month from Northwest USA to/from two major cities in Europe is going to be one pricey proposition; expect $1600 and up pp. BTW, you may want to post your own question so that OP Nikki can have a more focused response. No offense.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 10:51 AM
  #18
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Viajero2- Thanks for the advice for the open jaw advice, that never really dawned on me but I can definately see a great advantage to it and will certainly look at planning my trip around that!

And I have looked at a couple of alternate airports, neither are very close, 3-5hrs, and strangely enough they have not been any cheaper to fly out of. DFW is the big one and also the fartherest one, but still more expensive than Little Rock. It would have to be a significant savings to drive that far anyway. But who know how all that will change in the coming months!
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Aug 1st, 2009, 10:30 PM
  #19
 
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When to buy...that is the million dollar question. I usually wait until about 3 months before my departure date. However, as suggested by others, I keep updated on Bing and a couple other fare search sites. This year I got a fare of $480 including tax for San Diego to Dublin for September 15th. This is the first time I am going on Delta but it was a deal at the time I booked it...last June (and Aer Lingus no longer has direct flights LAX to Dub..bummer). I noticed now the fares are at $600 and up. Cheapest I ever got was $420 incl. tax on Aer Lingus a few years ago. So good luck and keep checking.
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