When to buy airline? & booking seats

Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 05:39 PM
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When to buy airline? & booking seats

Two questions.

1. I am driving myself crazy watching prices go UP and down and lately going up more than down for an April 7th departure to Greece. Any tips to getting a good price? We only want to stop once and don't want to use certain airlines that have not as great safety records.

2. Swiss Air charges for seat selection. I was thinking of just reserving my husband for the extra room and maybe doing the rest at check in to save money? How do most people do it. I know my kids would prefer to sit together but it really does up the price a lot.

Thank you
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 06:06 PM
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>>Any tips to getting a good price?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 06:12 PM
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We can’t be the oracles, the soothsayers, we don’t have the crystal glass, but some of us might at least be able to give productive advice if you tell us what we need to know:

When exactly?

From where to where (that plays into the question of “we only want to stop once”)?

How many of you?

What airlines do you consider “unsafe”?

What airlines - in what fare class - have you found to charge for seat assignment on transatlantic flights (assuming you’re in North America?)?

Meanwhile hurry over to www.airfarewatchdog.com and enter your trip details and sign up for email alerts for fare changes - now and then an email alert can save you a ton of money, but you have to be ready to pounce when it comes your way, computers change fares minute to minute..
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 06:45 PM
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I just read some report that said the sweet spot was 54 days out. Accurate? Who knows. I use "google flights" to see costs and to set up email alerts.

"Only 1 stop" -- where are you flying from? Are you flying to Athens?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 07:19 PM
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That 54 days comment was for domestic flights. Typically, International flights are best priced about 90 days out.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 07:44 PM
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thanks for the correction!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 12:42 AM
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I think I recently paid about $30 seat to reserve a specific seat on Lufthansa.
I suspect that you are looking at paying such a fee for four seats on four legs which would amount to about $480. Since Swiss is part of the Star alliance you might try getting your flight to Europe on United so that at least you can book your seats to/from Europe without fee. Flights within Europe are quite short in contrast so you might not be as concerned about seats. The airline will try to get your family seats together at the airport but that does not always happen. Book your flights when you get something you can live with. You cannot time the stock market or airline flight costs and April is not very far away. Email alerts may help but I would not wait too long to buy, certainly before March.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 02:18 AM
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For travel in April, I'd be looking to buy soon. I don't know if your itinerary includes domestic flights (on Olympic/Aegean .e.g to/from the islands) - but do note that fares are discounted when bought in advance, and go up sharply closer to date.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 04:28 AM
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Any tips to getting a good price? We only want to stop once and don't want to use certain airlines that have not as great safety records.

Nobody can predict with any real certainty when the "best" time to buy tickets is so the best thing to do is just buy them now and not check back on prices. If you have flexibility with arrival and departure dates or alternate airports, look at all of those variables before buying.


Swiss Air charges for seat selection. I was thinking of just reserving my husband for the extra room and maybe doing the rest at check in to save money?

My suggestion would be to do it all at once or check in as soon as possible so the kids can sit together (I am purposefully ignoring the possibility that the kids have to be seated next to or a near a parent).

An alternative would be to call customer service after the tickets are purchased and see if they can assign seats now (play up the angle of you wanting to keep the kids together) and hope that works.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 07:19 AM
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On other threads I think you've mentioned that you're leaving from the NYC region and that there are four (?) of you, including two teenage boys, right?

So you're looking for four adult seats from NYC to Athens in April.

Use the month-long search option on ITA - http://matrix.itasoftware.com - and try looking at two seats at a time rather than all four. (The reason for this is arcane and has to do with how airlines make seats available on each flight.) You might find out that booking two 2-person itineraries (on the same flights) works out cheaper than one 4-person itinerary.

When you see an itinerary (or two) that work, go to the airline's website (or use the linked Google Flights option on ITA) to book the seats. Then, as stated, don't look back.

As far as paying for seats, this is a revenue-enhancing gimmick being adopted more and more. Remember the airlines aren't in the business of splitting families up, and most gate agents will bend over backward to find adjacent seats. April over the pond isn't the busiest time of the year in coach, so personally I wouldn't worry too much about it.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:56 AM
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http://www.secretflying.com/posts/ne...559-roundtrip/
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 09:02 AM
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P.S. Emirates is a great airline to fly.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 09:11 AM
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As mentioned it's good to know your departure date and from where you'll be flying.

Prices can vary with airlines, dates of departure, time of departure/arrival, time of year you'll be visiting, etc.

I purchased a ticker from Boston to Athens for an October flight at $468 round trip with 1 short lay over in Paris and very good departure/arrival times.

The next day the price jumped $200, but was still very reasonable for a flight from Boston to Athens for under $700.

I check on a regular bases for flight so that might be something to consider. You can also sign up for a price alert with various websites to know when prices go down.

I like Googleflight and skyscanner for prices. When you find something that fits your needs and budget instead of booking with them go directly to the airlines website. You may get a better price, better customer service and more reliability.

Since April is not very far away you may want to book ASAP when you see a price you can live with.

Some airlines won't charge extra for a seat. I know Delta and Air France won't which are the airlines I'm booked with. There may be others that don't charge or you can wait until you check in online to pick seats.

I don't think it's right to pay extra for a choice of seats on top of the flight cost.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 09:51 AM
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>>> Remember the airlines aren't in the business of splitting families up, and most gate agents will bend over backward to find adjacent seats.

This depends on airlines and the load factor for that flight for that day.

There is a certain huge US carrier with frequent computer problem that seems to thrive on splitting older families, but probably not small crying children - that would be disastrous. I have never been able to have all 4 of us sit together. I am an one who gets sent to a middle non-reclining seat at the back of the plane. If I have to fly on this carrier and want to sit next to my wife, I have chosen the premium economy section. At least I get better seats at the same time I am forced to pay extra for seats selection. The last minutes maneuver only works if there are sufficient seats to juggle. Not all the flights are like this.

Even if there seems to be a lot of empty seats, carriers can cancel similar flights and dump passengers onto what you thought was a lightly loaded plane.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 09:57 AM
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Let me also add that even if you paid extra for seat selection, they are allowed to reroute you on a different plane voiding any seat choices you made. If your first leg gets delayed or cancelled forcing you to miss the second leg, the airline can gets you to the destination on different route with potluck seat assignments. You are supposed to feel grateful you get there on same day. The last this happened to me, I got sent to the toilet seat, the one right in front of the flushing toilet. The sound of never ending toilet flush was a lullaby to put me to sleep...
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 06:09 PM
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DebitNM WOW thank you. I just got a great DIRECT flight for much much cheaper on Emirates.
Thanks for all the advice on seat selection. This was so helpful. REally glad I posted.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 06:10 PM
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Greg... oh how I know that sound. Had that seat on the way to Japan. HA
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 06:21 PM
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Glad it worked out for you. We really enjoyed our Emirates flights.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:05 PM
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Rubytwins you never did tell us the dates of your flight. It would help others of us know what's possible.
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 04:08 PM
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Yes so sorry. April 7-19th. Our tickets with tax etc $525? round trip. Direct.
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