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Old 01-30-2012, 06:09 PM   #1
disneygal922
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How far in advance should I book airfare?

Hi everyone! So I consider myself to be a WDW veteran traveler. We going every year and I still can not figure out when the best time to purchase airfare. We just booked our September and flights are still fairly high. Southwest right now is the cheapest at 121 one way. I flew southwest once before and vowed never again. I'm small and felt cramped and like my personal space was being invaded by the person next to me. Does anybody have suggestions? Should we wait a little while still? Is it still really early for most airlines? I just don't know what to do. I don't want the prices to go up and then be kicking myself that I should have bought them when I saw them.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:48 PM   #2
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My family and I are traveling the first week of December and I have been researching flights over the last few weeks. We are traveling from Delaware so Phil DC or BWI is good for us. Southwest and JetBlue are available to us also but I heard flights would not be out until June or July. From what I have found the flights that seem reasonable are either very early in the day or very late or with 1 or 2 stops. We wanted a nonstop flight and was hoping to not pay for baggage (of course) but today I decided to just go ahead and book it. I saw many flights a whole lot more that I was not happy with the flight times. But this one on US Airways seemed to be reasonable and I liked that it was nonstop and also the times departing DCA and also the return flight from MCO were just what we wanted. Maybe it was a bit early to book it and maybe it will go down a bit but I feel comforable that we are booked and hopefully I will remain happy with the price.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:39 AM   #3
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Personally, I believe you should book as soon as your ok with paying the price. For us, Southwest was out of our budget RIGHT NOW and Jet Blue's rates for September aren't out yet (when we want to go anyway). So we will wait until they go lower. If they don't, then we will drive.

I did search JetBlue for August and they seem skyhigh to me! Scary!
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:48 AM   #4
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Best time to book airfare is 6 weeks prior to your trip.

Jan 24,2012
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business...before-flight/

"The best time to book flights for your next getaway may be six weeks before you want to travel, upending the widely held belief that buying earlier leads to better deals, according to a new report by Airlines Reporting Corp."
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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I think much depends on the time of year and where you want to fly from. If you live in an area that is serviced by multiple airports with tons of flights, delaying until a couple of months before you fly (per the above article) might work. We live in an area where flights are expensive anyway, and waiting generally only gives us undesirable flight times at much higher prices.
Some vacations I don't care when I arrive and depart, but with WDW I am picky. I am planning to book our Oct trip this week. Great arrival and departure times make for a less stressed visit to the mouse for us.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:46 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone. In the past we have always booked several months (6-9) in advance and usually can find $100 flights. We are in Chicago so we really have the pick of the litter when it comes to airlines. I just feel they are all so high right now. I suppose 121 isnt crazy but I would rather save the extra $100 to use in Disney. Like an above poster said. We are pretty picky with flight times when going to wdw. We want the earliest fight there and the latest flight home to get the most of our vacation. I am thinking we may wait just a little longer. Dh and I both are monitoring prices daily so hopefully something will open up.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGK View Post
Best time to book airfare is 6 weeks prior to your trip.

Jan 24,2012
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business...before-flight/

"The best time to book flights for your next getaway may be six weeks before you want to travel, upending the widely held belief that buying earlier leads to better deals, according to a new report by Airlines Reporting Corp."
I think it's worth mentioning that the article said that the fares were not based upon those purchased directly from the airline.

That may or may not make a difference to you

I find that I do better booking directly through the carrier, although our last Disney trip, disney travel was able to book our same flight for about $50 less for than what we would have paid booking through our chosen airline.

We consider a few other factors in addition to price, of utmost importance to DH is a non-stop flight. He'd rather pay a few more $$$ for the convenience of N/S. Flying out of Chicago you do have many options. Good luck with your decision
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:38 PM   #8
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"The best time to book flights for your next getaway may be six weeks before you want to travel, upending the widely held belief that buying earlier leads to better deals, according to a new report by Airlines Reporting Corp."[/QUOTE]

What made my decision to book now was because I was looking at flights 6-8 weeks out and that scared me because they were so expensive. In fact I must of put in 100s of different dates and 99% of them were higher or with 1 or 2 stops (we wanted nonstop only) and not just a little higher but I lot. And then part of the 1% either were horrible because they were very early like 6AM or either leaving MCO at 6:30 PM. I did not want our family to be driving home at midnight. Sometimes I was also told is that if you do see a good price......they may only have a few selected group of tickets for that price and then others for the same flight might not be offered for the cheaper price. We needed 7 tickets. So I went right straight to the AirLines. I heard the price can change while you are making the reservations. With looking at Today's prices I am happy with my choice. They are up today and some say it is cheaper to book on Tuesdays.

So I am agreeable to the post that said.........purchase flights when you see what you think is the right time for your family and of course lower than what you are looking for in the past. Oh and also if it is nonstop because I have heard less flights are going nonstop at a good price! Southwest and JetBlue are famous for only having a couple of flights that the times are both good and also nonstop.

I know it is a gamble to book so far ahead of time but it seems everything is going up lately.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:20 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone! One more question... Do you book directly through the airlines or do you go the expedia, travelocity, orbitz route? What do you think of buying from different airlines for each way? We found a US Airways flight to MCO that is a great time and the same price as southwest and a flight back on American that is a great time and same price as southwest. I've always booked round trip with one airline. Does it really make a difference?
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGK View Post
Best time to book airfare is 6 weeks prior to your trip.

Jan 24,2012
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business...before-flight/

"The best time to book flights for your next getaway may be six weeks before you want to travel, upending the widely held belief that buying earlier leads to better deals, according to a new report by Airlines Reporting Corp."
The problem that might happen with Orlando is by 6 weeks the flights might be soldout if you are going during a busy time.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneygal922 View Post
Thanks everyone! One more question... Do you book directly through the airlines or do you go the expedia, travelocity, orbitz route?
I've found that the airline's site is usually cheaper. For our June trip it was A LOT cheaper when I booked. At the time Expedia was about $100 more per person (however, the gap just dropped to $20) for the exact same flights.

Quote:
We found a US Airways flight to MCO that is a great time and the same price as southwest and a flight back on American that is a great time and same price as southwest. I've always booked round trip with one airline. Does it really make a difference?
No.

Also, given what we're seeing it appears that a new paradigm is in place with regard to airline pricing. I think this pretty much renders the research referenced in the "6 weeks out is best" story as moot.
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Last edited by Geoff_M; 02-01-2012 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:53 PM   #12
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If you are 6 weeks out and don't mind an evening flight to Orlando and a morning return, it might work out for you. But don't expect a morning flight to Orlando and an afternoon/evening return for a cheap fare. Especially non-stops, especially major carriers.

I've tried Expedia and Orbitz when I thought they had a cheaper fare but each time when I tried to actually book it, it came back "fare not found".
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGK View Post
Best time to book airfare is 6 weeks prior to your trip.

Jan 24,2012
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business...before-flight/

"The best time to book flights for your next getaway may be six weeks before you want to travel, upending the widely held belief that buying earlier leads to better deals, according to a new report by Airlines Reporting Corp."
Just for grins, I decided to test this... six weeks out from today is 3/14.
RT from my home airport (LEX) to MCO with a return 1 week later:

Depart 2/22 (3 weeks)
Airtran: $197
Delta: $219
United: $286
Continental: $396

Depart 3/14 (6 weeks)
Airtran: $199
Delta: $219
United: $265
Continental: $265

Depart 3/21 (7 weeks)
Airtran: $197
Delta: $253
United: $254
Continental: $310

Depart 4/11 (10 weeks)
Airtran: $207
Delta: $2219
United: $253
Continental: $278

Depart 5/16 (15 weeks)
Airtran: $197
Delta: $219
United: $261
Continental: $261

So the prices at 15 weeks out are slightly better than 6 weeks out. The prices at 3, 7, and 10 weeks are better for some and worse for others.

All prices are using Travelocity (because they'll give me a summary of multiple airlines). You might get better prices by going direct to the airline.

The bottom line is there is NO magic time. Our last flight (June of 2011) I booked ~320 days out. Prices NEVER got as low as they did when I booked.

As has been mentioned, keep an eye on prices, book when you're comfortable, and know it's a gamble. You can book today and prices drop like a rock tomorrow. You can NOT book today and prices skyrocket tomorrow (and don't come down). If you're going to be upset if prices go down after you book, don't look again (unless you're booking SW or JetBlue(?) where you can get credit).
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Last edited by sam_gordon; 02-01-2012 at 05:41 PM. Reason: added a '3 week' out price
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #14
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Thanks again everyone. I think we will be booking the usairways and American flights we found this evening.

I'm glad to know that I'm not crazy and that others were finding the travel sites to be a little more.

Sam Gordon. Thanks for that break down. It really did help! I Also learned never to fly continental. yikes some of those prices were high!
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneygal922 View Post
Thanks again everyone. I think we will be booking the usairways and American flights we found this evening.

I'm glad to know that I'm not crazy and that others were finding the travel sites to be a little more.

Sam Gordon. Thanks for that break down. It really did help! I Also learned never to fly continental. yikes some of those prices were high!

hi homie!
i have been checking flights for my sept trip also.
i know the USAirways beats the prices of all the airlines right now but be careful is you are thinking of booking with them.

they have a bad rep at ord for delayed flights.
mainly because their planes are older. maybe 15-6 years old.

i did think about the 6:30ish flight for the morning out as if it was delayed, i would still probably be in orlando by noon time.
their $221 price is the best out there right now.

but, decided to take a pass in using them.

i'm hoping that United prices drop soon.
the Continental flights now out of ord have the same flights listed with United.

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