When to buy plane tickets?

Feb 17th, 2004, 05:36 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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When to buy plane tickets?

As some of you might know, I too missed the infamous Alitalia sale. We are honeymooning from August 15 to August 26 and would like to fly into Florence (or Pisa) and fly out of Rome. I should also mention that we live in Chicago so tickets might be more expensive.

My question to you experienced travelers is: when should I purchase out tickets? I don't want to keep waiting and waiting thinking that the rates will go below the $982 RT they are now and then come two months before our honeymoon, they skyrocket to $1200! I guess I'm just apprehensive about waiting to purchase the tickets b/c it's our honeymoon and I like to have things planned well in advance. We've already booked our hotels as we didn't want to wait and find out there would be no vacancies.

Thank you for all your advice!
Prill1717 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 05:50 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 375
Prill, no one can tell you for sure what will happen with airline tickets. You must determine which of the potential consequences of your potential courses of action will give you the most discomfort:

1) If you buy your tickets today and the price goes down in the next couple of months, you will miss out on savings of some unknown amount. Could be $200-300 per ticket. (Or could be more. Or could be less.)

2) If you don't buy your tickets today and the price goes up in the next couple of months, you will have to pay more some unknown amount. Could be $200-300 per ticket. (Or could be more. Or could be less.)

Other factors which could influence the buy now/buy later decision include: How flexible are your dates? Are you willing to change your dates a date or so in either direction to go/return earlier/later. (Assuming go early probably is out since you did mention this is for your honeymoon.) How flexible are you? Will not having the tickets in hand cause you to spend more emotional energy worrying about this when you have other things to concentrate on? (Like, wedding details. Possibly combining households. Etc.)

In the past, there have sometimes been sales on tickets to Europe in the spring for travel in the summer. But, I think we are all learning that we can't necessarily use what's been done in the past as what will happen this year. There have been and will continue to be so many changes in the travel industry that predictions are less accurate than they've previously been before. You must decide which will be less discomforting for you and then go with it.

There is no single correct answer -- the only thing I'm sure of is that whatever you decide, you will probably have pangs of "Oh, no. I should have <insert the other course of action which you didn't take>." And you need to ignore those pangs and go on.

I guess this all boils down to -- Do what will best set your mind at ease. I know about wanting to have things done in advance -- it's very difficult for me to wait to make firm plans and arrangements.
carrolldf is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 07:19 AM
  #3  
 
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Carol, I also missed that sale. Since then I have checked everyday hoping for another sale. They want 712.00 for my trip out of Boston and Im on the fence...should I jump on it or wait? I'll probably kick myself in the ..... but i think im going to wait another week or so...Let me know how you make out.
paula5 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 09:42 AM
  #4  
 
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I was looking at ticket prices last week, and they had jumped $100+ from one day to the next for the destinations (open jaw SF-Munich-Paris-SF) I wanted, going in May and returning in July. I then tried Priceline, but they don't have open jaw tickets. But if you go to their help menu and inquire about open jaw tickets, you will find a highlighted item--I believe it is "multiple cities"--which takes you to another site where prices are fixed. They turned out to be cheaper than any other pricing, including the consolidator that I normally use. Instead of paying $1560 for two round trips, we are paying $1326. I believe that the site name is air.lowestfare.com.
Michael is online now  
Feb 17th, 2004, 10:02 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,154
FWIW, Chicago often has some very competitive fares. It's obviously not my money or my plans that are at stake here. I also agree that future airfares are anyone's guess, but with a Sunday departure and a Thursday return, I think you'll be able to do better than the $982 r/t that you're seeing right now. You can afford to keep looking into early May for a decent shot at saving up to $200+/ticket, I would guess.
Flyboy is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 10:11 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I checked out air.lowestfare...they wern't able to find my flight right now...I will plug in again later...Im traveling in June-do you think Im waiting to long to book my flight?
paula5 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 10:54 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Paula5, have you checked ITASoftware.com? That's a good starting point for finding cheap fares (although it doesn't always find the cheapest).
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 04:54 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I bought the book Italy for Dummies and found some good websites for airfares. They are sites of travel consolidators and the one I used was travelhub.com.I bought 4 tickets to Rome in June and saved $2000.
mars10 is offline  
Feb 29th, 2004, 06:09 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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I hate to tell you this, but Delta just had a sale similar to the Alitalia one (I think they are partner airlines). There were more $400-500 fares on the same flights. (I am going to italy, like you, in the fall for my honeymoon).

Perhaps spend the minutes you type "when should i buy airfare" here on Fodor's on Orbitz instead, so you don't miss the next sale! Best of luck!
Thonglori is offline  
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