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-   -   When to buy plane tickets? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/when-to-buy-plane-tickets-96429/)

Bill Dec 13th, 2000 07:54 AM

When to buy plane tickets?
 
I'm planning a trip for early July, 2001, leaving the Washington, DC area to Munich or Salzburg. The plane ticket prices are WAY up there! Should I wait a while and see if they come down. <BR>Eaxample: Non-stop Dulles to Munich: $1,473 on United (which I'm not crazy about flying anyway!) <BR>BWI to Munich, with connection in London: $982 (we'd prefer non-stop, obviously). <BR>Any advice?

Frequent Flyer Dec 13th, 2000 07:59 AM

Well July is the highest of the high season. You will have a hard time finding cheap tickets in July. Have you tried a consolidator? They might help. You also might consider traveling in the off season for cheaper airfare, fewer crowds, and friendlier people. <BR> <BR>

Maira Dec 13th, 2000 08:25 AM

Hi Bill!--- try qixo.com. They have the QIXO Alert, which basically is a feature that allows you to enter estimated travel times and up to how much you are wiling to pay. This site checks top consolidators daily and when one of them offers what you are looking for, you get an e-mail (alert). Unlike priceline.com, you are not entering a bidding process. For a July trip, I would wait, at a minimum, until end of March. I believe you do realize you are seeking travel on high season, so you will be paying $500+? <BR> <BR>Have you tried SpanAir to Madrid and an inter-Europe to Munich? Just a thought...

Ed Dec 13th, 2000 08:29 AM

You'll pay top dollar for a July trip. Given the weather, though, I'd not use this a reason to move the trip to the off season. <BR> <BR>You will probably find airlines that pay a lot of attention to garnering passengers going elsewhere than the airline's hub may offer good deals. You found on with BA(:); KLM is another to look at. Both hubs work about as well as it can be done, and there's rarely an inconvenience. <BR> <BR>Secondary airports are another alternative, as you found with BWI. <BR> <BR>And as fly menitoned, consolidators are another alternative. I'd personally not recommend dealing with a consolidator directly, but rather through a &gt;&gt;good&lt;&lt; travel agent. <BR> <BR>Good agents (really travel consultants these days) are hard to find, but you can locate a consultant who has extensive international trip booking experience ... that's what you want to get the most bang for your buck, safely. <BR> <BR>Ed

Bill Dec 13th, 2000 11:07 AM

<BR>Ahhh... much better! <BR> <BR>Non-stop on USAir from Philadelphia to Munich for $759 plus tax (we live in Baltimore, so Philly airport is no worse drive than Dulles!) <BR> <BR>One-hop connection on Delta from either Philly or Dulles for $676 <BR> <BR>BTW, for that price we have a choice of connecting in either New York (JFK) or Paris (CDG). Any recommendations as to which would be better for making the connection (a brief stop; no time for sightseeing)? <BR> <BR>(Yes, we know it's an expensive time to travel. No way around the timing.) <BR> <BR> <BR>

Gina Dec 13th, 2000 11:48 AM

You know, Bill, for just $80 more I'd say it's worth it to go without the connection. I'm a big budget traveler, but I try not to take connecting flights overseas if I can *possibly* avoid it, after a delayed flight from DC to JFK cost us a day in Paris last year. I hate worrying about whether we'll make the connection, doubling all the hiking around airports, so on and so forth. <BR> <BR>If you do decide to go with the connector, I'd vote for getting the overseas hop done with *first*, going Philly-London-Paris rather than Philly-JFK-Paris. And if you decide to go Philly-JFK-Paris, try to allow *at least* four (six is better) hours between your arrival time at JFK and your flight to Paris. That way, if your flight from Philly is delayed (can you tell this experience made a major impression on me), you'll have at least some wiggle room to still get you there in time to catch the Paris flight. <BR> <BR>It's not a lot of fun sitting around in an airport for four hours waiting for your flight, but it's even less fun to be told, "We can't get you on another flight that'll get you to New York in time to catch our last flight to Paris tonight; come back tomorrow," and then have to go home, sit around, and repeat the whole process the next day. <BR>

Annie Dec 13th, 2000 11:58 AM

Hi Bill: <BR>I would take a non-stop anytime That said, if you have to make a connection do it in Paris! <BR>I would not want to be in JFK for anything except to fly out on my next non-stop! <BR>Have a great trip!

Gina Dec 13th, 2000 12:00 PM

Whoops, I misread; don't know why I thought you were connecting in London and on to Paris, instead of Paris and on to Munich. It's been a long day. Anyway, that doesn't change my advice and I definitely agree with Annie; avoid connectors if you can and if you can't, don't go to JFK unless you have to. If worse comes to worst with air travel and somehow you get stuck in your connecting city for a day, where better to be "stuck" than Paris?

Diane Dec 13th, 2000 12:05 PM

Bill - try making your USAirways reservations on biztravel.com If you are delayed over half an hour, you will get reimbursed $100 per ticket. (Not as much an issue if it's a nonstop, but something to consider.) If a flight is cancelled, full reimbursement. (And I've been reimbursed once already.) I'm biding my time for lower fares in May, myself. Using Qixo for notice as soon as they drop below $600 to Rome or Milan, then I'll buy.

elvira Dec 13th, 2000 07:32 PM

Absolutely, make any connection in Europe rather than in the U.S. Worst case, NO PLANES going out...so you can take a train instead or spend a day in the 'stranded' city. No train option if you're stuck in JFK.<BR><BR>I've bought directly from consolidators (the advantage to using a travel agent is that there are many consolidators who will ONLY deal with travel agents) and never had a problem - but never via the Internet, always with phone calls and mailing my credit card info or check to an address. I've gotten really bizarre airlines (as in, would never have thought of them) - like El Al from London to New York (I was the only schiksa on the plane, and drank Maccabee beer - darn good).<BR><BR>The rule has always been that if you buy a ticket from an airline, and then they lower the price later, you can get the cheaper price for a fee ($50-100 seems to be the norm). Caveat: DON'T cancel your first ticket before you get confirmation on the newly-priced tickets. That's where a travel agent is worth their weight in gold.

Juanita Dec 14th, 2000 07:35 AM

Be patient. Better fares ALWAYS come along. I've been doing this for 11 years now, and I've NEVER found a good fare early. Start looking intensely about 8 weeks before your departure date. The best time to buy is about 45 days out, unless you see a good sale before then. Most airlines have sales in January and February, so watch out then.


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