Discussion in 'Transportation' started by Spoisal, May 23, 2003.
I've never flown in December ....when would I start to look for good airfare for mid-December?
It's never too soon to start your shopping for airfare. I bought our tickets for our November trip almost 2 months ago now. We found a good deal and grabbed it. Glad we did because the airfare went right up after that.
If you're flying mid-December and not either the weekend after Thanksgiving or the weekend before Christmas, you could probably stand to wait.
You'll probably start seing fare sales for that time period in late summer or early fall. If you can't wait, you could always buy the ticket now and ask them to give you a credit if the fare goes down (although you'll have to use the credit within 12 months I believe).
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You're either too late or too early!
In many case the airlines have sold their small allotment of cheap seats on these flights, and prices have gone up. On the other hand, these flights are still largely empty, and they may eventually have to lower their prices in order to fill them. Also Southwest is not yet selling for this time frame, so there is relatively little "value" competition in many markets.
We typically fly from Philly and I've been search since last December with airfare hovering around $280....we decided to take the Auto train....I keep checking the fare any how and it seems to be about $361....Way too high....
Best advice is Know or find out what good airfare is ...Check on Tues Am, Pm and Wed Am, Pm (when most short term sales happen) then jump on and decent fares....
An added note to zurgswife...
When we bought our airline tickets online it was a weekend only sale. We got our tickets from Delta at 212.50 which was really, really good out of Syracuse. The lowest the flights from SYR now are 240.50 which are considerably lower than 365.50, which it jumped to after we purchased our tickets.
That being said...check every day online and, like said before, have a price in your head that you think may be good. My price was 200 for me to purchase fo all w/o asking anyone else in our group (8 of us). At 212.50, I called everyone immediately and told them they should grab it, which all did.
Spoisal, I notice you're from Maryland. If you would fly out of Baltimore, you may want to wait until SWA open their schedule. But I would also sign up to Travelocity or Expedia's e-mail fare watcher. Basically you plug in where you want to go and tell them to either notify you when the fare is below $x or when it drops by $25 or $50. Then you just have to make sure you're on line and checking your e-mail regularly. When you see a good fare, see if it works for your days. Then also sign up for SWA e-mail updates. You don't see SWA specials through the other sites. Right now SWA cheap flights are $148.50 Round trip (but again, they're not booking December yet)
Two years ago, when southwest had their 30 year anniversary, many flights were $30 one way with RT purchase. We flew to Orlando from HArtford for $75 total cost per person RT. I think that special came out in early July. Unfortunately, haven't seen anything that good since.
We fly the second week of December each year. Although we start looking right away we never end up getting our tickets usually until July or August when the sales come out. Most sales are only through the end of october right now. Since we have gone so often I do know what a good deal is though so If the airfare goes below 160.00 on a given day I would scoop the tickets right up.
Thanks Ann...I have been looking at December flight costs and OUCH! Ok, I haven't flown in 2 years so I am getting serious sticker shock! Hope that this summer there are some "Sale" prices.
I think a lot of sales come out to match southwest. Southwest only books about five months in advance. You also have to pay attention to their sales as they come out on Tues. and are gone in days. Last year on Monday it was running about 215.00 pp round trip tuesday (when we bought ) it dropped to 148.00pp and on thursday it was back up to 200.00. Delta matched southwest for those days but I prefer southwest. I believe they are booking through like Oct.25 right now so in about a month and a half you can start checking.
Ours for Dec were priced at $215 in January. The same non-stop, direct flights are going at over $400 today, and still climbing.
Moral of the story: Start shopping for your ticket fares 331 days ahead of time! Never too early
TreeOfLife's flight may be very popular and filling fast, in which case his/her advice is on the money.
But Delta in particular is charging as much as $375 for some December flights in my market where no segment is more than 1/3 full, and some segments are nearly empty. Those prices are likely to come down in the future. But for now they are milking the consumers who panic-buy when they see high prices. (Nothing wrong with that of course.)
How can you tell if a flight is full or not?
Go to the airline's website. There is always a link for seat assignments or seating charts close to the flight you'd consider. I think Expedia's, etc., shows the links too but don't forget you normally have to pay additional fees for booking through those sites.
Our Dec flight is virtually empty, it was switched to Song. But unlike other stories, ours went smoothly. No changes in the schedule were made and we're on row 2!
But being it a fact that the flight is in Dec, close to the holidays and school vacation closings, I do expect it to fill up within months. I suppose people are waiting to see how the economy shapes up but it always worked for us to book several hundred days ahead of time. Each year I did, the price never went down below what it was 300 days ahead of arrival or departure!
And there are yet more advantages to planning early: You can motivate your children to save money for the trip and pay off as much as you can, to the point that when you get there you virtually have the expenses of the stay and do not return to see the bills after the trip!
You should probably check everyday. AND you should sign up for Travelocity's emails. I set myself up for flights from Cleveland to Orlando for any flights under $175.00. We always fly around December 13-22. Well low and behold a flight for Delta came up at $123.00 per person. With tax it was $146.00. It was even the times we wanted to fly. Needless to say I booked 5 of us. I had to purchase through Travelocity but then I confirmed it through Delta airlines. That was last week. Those prices were gone within 3 hours. You have to check constantly. So get going and set yourself up and you'll find something!
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