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View Full Version : How many of you buy airfare between the 3 - 3 1/2 month mark?


mermaidwannabe
03-12-2012, 10:08 AM
I'm about 15 weeks out from our summer trip to FL and will either fly into Tampa or Orlando. Prices have been awful and have only dropped $20 for Tues and Wed (so still $520). Other days are just crazy prices, like $615 and $720. I should be market watcher on airlines I've been watching the prices quite obsessively for the past month. I've read a lot where you should at least wait until you are out 3 months to 3 1/2 months before buying, but for a family of 5 should I not wait any longer? I know no one can KNOW for sure, I just wondered what you all do. Thanks.

gwynne
03-12-2012, 10:55 AM
I'm about 15 weeks out from our summer trip to FL and will either fly into Tampa or Orlando. Prices have been awful and have only dropped $20 for Tues and Wed (so still $520). Other days are just crazy prices, like $615 and $720. I should be market watcher on airlines I've been watching the prices quite obsessively for the past month. I've read a lot where you should at least wait until you are out 3 months to 3 1/2 months before buying, but for a family of 5 should I not wait any longer? I know no one can KNOW for sure, I just wondered what you all do. Thanks.

JMO-But I think some of the recommendations you're reading about waiting till around 3 months out may not be relevant in all markets. Fares are higher, planes are full and buying earlier makes better sense to me. For folks who are flying out of say, DFW or ATL, these tips might make sense. I fly out of a small market. I don't have tons of choice, so (especially this year) waiting seems to only drive up the price and gives me fewer great flight times. I usually only need 1or 2 tickets, if I needed 5 I would really be looking seriously.
If I have enough notice, I start looking 6-8 months out. When I see a deal I can live with, good flight times on dates we want I book it. This year that seems to be at the 4 or 5 month out timeframe.

Geoff_M
03-13-2012, 11:52 AM
The old rules all seem to have gone out the window. The new paradigm appears to be: "If you find a fare that you can live with, buy the tickets NOW!" We're going in June and I started looking for tickets shortly after January 1. I looked at the the usual suspects and airports (up to 4 hours away). Our local airport was over $500, and the major airports (Detroit, Indy) were around $350. I could only find one "deal": AirTran out of Grand Rapids at $224 w/taxes. In early February, I jumped on the $224 far. While some of the outrageous fares I saw in January have come "down", they're still a lot more than I paid... even the GR fare I paid has jumped since then. I just looked and at ~11 weeks out here's the best I can see (excluding "red eye" flights): Chicago - $265, Detroit - $269, Grand Rapids - $285, Indy - $300 , and Kalamazoo - $366.

TamaraQT
03-13-2012, 02:24 PM
I usually travel from PHL to MCO in July and/or August. I start looking at airfare in January!! In my experience from last year, the prices I see in Jan/Feb are the lowest the prices will be. That trend seems to be repeating itself this year. However, I wont know for sure if I have a good deal or not until I get closer to my dates. The latest I have waited is 4 months out. You are a little past that. So my suggestion would be to find something you are comfortable with and book. The waiting game may backfire if fuel increases or as planes fill up.

mermaidwannabe
03-14-2012, 07:02 PM
I've been checking flights and how many seats are on which plane, but I think I will book by next week because I'm getting nervous. I just need to book and then not look again! :)

cbsnyber1
03-14-2012, 07:12 PM
We fly Southwest from Pittsburgh and always book the day the schedule is released for our flights. Lately fares have not come back down after their release, but in the past that was not always true - it was often possible to wait and see and score a bargain.

I can't remember the last time I got a Ding! alert for a bargain fare.

We go in October and booked February 20. We paid $109 (in points) each way. The same flights now are $177 / $155 and those are the least expensive available.

An earlier post gave the best advice: when you find a fare you can live with, book it. I would not wait, especially now with rising fuel prices and a seemingly improving economy.

aubriee
03-15-2012, 02:39 AM
JMO-But I think some of the recommendations you're reading about waiting till around 3 months out may not be relevant in all markets. Fares are higher, planes are full and buying earlier makes better sense to me. For folks who are flying out of say, DFW or ATL, these tips might make sense. I fly out of a small market. I don't have tons of choice, so (especially this year) waiting seems to only drive up the price and gives me fewer great flight times. I usually only need 1or 2 tickets, if I needed 5 I would really be looking seriously.
If I have enough notice, I start looking 6-8 months out. When I see a deal I can live with, good flight times on dates we want I book it. This year that seems to be at the 4 or 5 month out timeframe.


Hey, don't put Dallas in that group.:rotfl: Since AirTran pulled out of Dallas this past Nov, our airfares have more than doubled. I go to WDW several times a year, so always have multiple trips booked and am checking airfare pretty much daily. Air Tran used to keep American in line and their base fare from DFW to MCO nonstop was around $220.00, but I could always find it on sale (usually on late Tuesday or Wednesday nights) for $148.00-$198.00. As of Nov 22, 2011, those days ended and the base airfare jumped to over $400.00 and pretty much stays there. Now I was able to catch American dropping their fares for a day or two here and there, so was able to get my flight for last Nov/Dec for $268.00 and for Feb for like $158.00, but in both instances they almost immediately jumped back up to over $400.00 within just a couple of days and never dropped again. This was several months out. The flights were completely full. I had been watching daily trying to get airfare for my upoming May, Sept, and Oct/Nov trips, when someone here on the DIS posted that Spirit was going to start a DFW-MCO nonstop flight the middle of this month (March). By doing a temporary membership in their $9.00 Club I was able to get flights for both the May and Sept trips for $148.00. Even with all the fees Spirit charges, they still easily beat the over $400.00 fares all the other airlines out of Dallas had at that time. I'm still looking every day for air fare for our Oct/Nov trip. If I find decent times for less than $250.00, I'll be grabbing it. Thank goodness I usually fly during the off times (Sept, Oct, early Dec, early May, etc). I'd hate to think what airfare would be during spring break or summer vacation.

The old rules all seem to have gone out the window. The new paradigm appears to be: "If you find a fare that you can live with, buy the tickets NOW!"


I agree. Set a price limit, check daily, and if you can find air fare at or below that limit grab it, before it jumps up again.

debster812
03-15-2012, 06:52 AM
I've been known to buy tickets 11 months in advance. ;) Of course, we fly over President's Week, out of the Northeast, which is notorious for high fares and FULL flights.

That being said, I agree with other posters that much of the conventional wisdom surrounding when to purchase flights has gone out the window.

My mantra for several years has been find a price we can live with, and buy the tickets when we get to that price point, and then stop obsessing about it :lmao: (easier said than done). :lmao:

kinggoofy
03-15-2012, 07:42 AM
The old rules all seem to have gone out the window. The new paradigm appears to be: "If you find a fare that you can live with, buy the tickets NOW!" We're going in June and I started looking for tickets shortly after January 1. I looked at the the usual suspects and airports (up to 4 hours away). Our local airport was over $500, and the major airports (Detroit, Indy) were around $350. I could only find one "deal": AirTran out of Grand Rapids at $224 w/taxes. In early February, I jumped on the $224 far. While some of the outrageous fares I saw in January have come "down", they're still a lot more than I paid... even the GR fare I paid has jumped since then. I just looked and at ~11 weeks out here's the best I can see (excluding "red eye" flights): Chicago - $265, Detroit - $269, Grand Rapids - $285, Indy - $300 , and Kalamazoo - $366.

Shockingly, being a Hawks fan, I agree with everything you are saying here. :cool1:

The prices are "out of control" and if you find a fare...BOOK IT.

We had to adjust our schedule a to save $112. we are using AT A+ travel rewards for our home flight on Sat 8-25..(still costing us $65 in fees) .

Our flight leaving MDW is on Tues 8-14 on SWA. For the longest time that flight was $117 one way. We waited..waited..waited..waited and it never moved. So last sunday we made the switch.

We moved our AT A+ free flight from outgoing to coming home. By doing that, we got our home flight on 8-25. On SWA, the home flight was $173 one way on Sat 8-25.

Now we are leaving on SWA for $117 per peson. ($173-$117 = $56 x 2 = $112)

On this past tuesday...those outgoing flights from MDW to MCO jumped up to $155 for Tues 8-14.

So yes, the old days are over with. SWA has minimal competition on "popluar" destination flights to places like Orlando, Vegas, etc from Chicago MDW.

You will see the prices drop if they had competition. Yes..we could fly out of O'hare...BUT we live 5 minutes from MDW on the SW Side and its too convenient when we need to get dropped off and picked up.

mermaidwannabe
03-15-2012, 09:19 AM
This is so nerve wracking!! Yesterday, the flights went from $521 to $462, but for the week before I can go. I'm trying to figure out how I could swing going that week right now, but if I can't, I may wait one more week to see if my week goes down to that too. So depressing that I'm excited that it went into the $400's.

Geoff_M
03-16-2012, 11:45 AM
Shockingly, being a Hawks fan, I agree with everything you are saying here. :cool1:Believe me, I appreciate the irony!

To further drive home the "Don't wait" mantra, I heard a news story on summer air travel recently and they mentioned that due to higher fuel costs (among other things) there will be fewer flights this summer than in recent years and the AVERAGE flight this summer is expected to be ~85% FULL.