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When do plane ticket prices go down?

Keppie

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2006
I'm looking to fly to Europe sometime in the fall. I'd like to end up in Eastern Europe, but if I get to London, I can take the cheapie airlines from there. But tickets to London are so expensive right now! I would want to fly out of either NYC or SFO (yes, a big difference, I know, but I live near SFO and have a friend I really want to visit in NYC, so either would work)

I've been looking online at prices, and everything seems crazily expensive, even when I put in fall/winter dates. Is that just because it's high season now? Any guesses on when (if?) they'll go down? I flew from SFO to LON two years ago for $350!!!

Thanks!
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static

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2006
"Shoulder season" starts the first of September. The really cheap fares are in January and February.

Try using Travelocity's "flexible date" option and fly midweek.
To save money, I suggest flying directly from SFO to LHR.

KelownaKid18

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2006
The longer you wait, the better. My dad is a travel agent, and he keeps telling me to wait as long as I can because usually airlines sell tickets cheap at the last minute. Unfortunately I am paranoid that seats will sell out, or that the price will go up, instead of down, and I end up playing it safe and purchasing the tickets a month or 2 before.
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crazyal

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2006
The pricing for plane tickets usually follows a cycle in the U.S. Basicly if the kids are out of school the prices go up! Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years you usually find spikes of higher prices. Flights to Asia may find a spike up for the Chinese New Years.

Closer you get to the summer graduation/school vacations the prices rise, they reach a peak and gradually decline a little closer to September (when the kids go back to school!)

Occasionally airlines find themselves with flights that have empty seats, they will lower the prices (last minute deals) to fill those seats - you may be the lucky guy who gets the cheap seat.

Sometimes after a big plane crash somewhere in the world, something that gets a lot of publicity, the airlines get more cancellations. Sometimes whole tour groups get wet feet and bail out of their reservations. Seats open up and there are more "last minute deals!"

Prices also go up because of the cost of fuel and security procedures that are in place now. What I hate is when you see a good price for a flight and the "small print" say DOES NOT INCLUDE TAXES AND SURCHARGES! Not all companies have the same increase, I don't understand it some increases are small and some are quite a bit more. When you compare prices you have to compare the WHOLE price with all the add-ons.

I find that the staff that answers the telephones (NWA, Delta, and UA) are more friendly late at night just after midnight. I don't know if they have more time looking for better deals and more convenient departure times - to me they just seem more helpful and friendly at that time.

When you book a flight don't fall in love with a particular departure date - BE FLEXIBLE - check the prices a few days before and a few days after your desired date for a cheaper price. Usually flights departing on Friday, weekends and holidays may cost more than the other days of the week. If you have a smaller airport not too far from your house - check their prices too. For me sometimes flying out of Providence RI is over $100 cheaper than the same airline going to the same destination flying out of Boston! (I was going to SFO.) Checking the prices from different airports is worth a looksee but it's no guarantee of a lower price.

I booked a flight from Boston to Manila, P.I. yesterday with the right to cancel up to midnight tonight. (Leaving June 7.) I checked that same flight today and it was around $500 more. I was mulling over the idea of not taking the flight because it was much higher than last year, but a $500 difference in cost convinced me to keep what I had!

I fly a lot and I only fly on airlines that I can use the frequent flyer miles on! Sometimes I do pay an extra $30 to $50 more for a flight from a particular airline that I want. BUT the little extra benefits pay off later on for me. I like my gold cards, they give me free upgrades, preferential seating, first on the plane (when all the overhead bins are still empty,) and bonuse miles for later on. During the Christmas and New Years holidays when the prices are really high going overseas - I fly for free using my miles that I got on the cheaper flights! Works for me!

Al
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crazyal

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2006
I forgot to add (as if the other msg wasn't long enough) that sometimes you can use a combination of flying free with miles and paying.

When I want to go to Asia from the East Coast - sometimes I use frequent flyer miles to fly for FREE to California (SFO or LAX) and PAY for one of the many cheaper Asian carriers going to Thailand or Malaysia, etc.

The same thing should work if you live in California and you want to go to Europe. Use some miles to fly to New York or Washington DC for FREE and pay for a cheaper carrier from there to Europe!

Good Luck.
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ginger

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2006
There is no gaurentee that fare will go down the near the date you want to fly.
The low cost airlines in the uk and else where start with low fares 99p + taxes 3 or 4 mounths in advance or longer but could be as much as £150+ within a few days of departure.
With the fuel crisis still rumberling on BA for 1 has put up their fuel surcharge in the last week which adds to the cost.
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gonorth

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  • Added on: April 28th, 2006
If you have time and flexibility of dates you might be interested in www.airhitch.org
quote:
No BTDT advice, but being piqued, did a Google and came up with this which gives a thumbs up and a thumbs down look so to speak.
The initial article certainly clearly and concisely describes the concept/process along with waiting/missing out/diappointment/driving (where do you park the car) and final satisfaction, whereas first comment is not so keen to try it again but did meet a good friend!

Another commenter introduced 4cheapair.com which is now www.Consolidatorairfares.com

Also of note is that those comments all seem a bit ancient, and whether things have changed or not, seems the sort of thing a single flexible could or might put up with

Reading a few times to absorb takes a bit of time too, but essentially you buy a voucher and hope that there is a vacant seat - maybe you could check with nominated airline to see which days/times you would be more likely to get a vacancy.
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