Booking air...

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by dopeyfanatic, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. dopeyfanatic

    dopeyfanatic DIS Veteran

    Jul 28, 2004
    Ok, so I'm posting this on a couple boards I'm on and I'm just repasting it. I really want opinions on when we should book our airfare from the frequent flyers. Although this would have to be from the people that plan their trip 12 months out and have the option of buying them far in advance or waiting....

    We're not going for nearly 18 months, but I'm trying to figure out when the best time is to book airfare. It is MUCH more expensive than when we were going to go in March last year. That was going to be $250/RT, now it's nearly $400! So, for all of you that fly often, how far out should we book? Should we do it as soon as we can, or should we wait until 6 months before? I don't think I could wait any longer than 4 months out....we're going June 2008, and I figure by end of February 2008 I want to have my tickets, so I probably won't be waiting for a Ding. In fact, we don't intend on taking Southwest unless they are LOTS cheaper because I don't want to deal with where we'll be sitting with the kids...I like knowing where my seat is and that we're all together.... TIA!
  2. we're all mad here

    we're all mad here Mouseketeer

    Jul 14, 2005
    If you book air more than 6 months out, you are going to pay a premium. Even though your are not flying SWA, wait until their schedules come out so the legacy's will feel pressure to match or at least lower thrir price. You can pick out your preffered flights now and watch the seat availability, I know you can check Continental's available seats without purchasing. Once the date gets closer, check airfare EVERY day, and even twice or thre times daily and wait for a price drop. Once I checked my preferred flight about an hour after I checked earlier and the price dropped $50. I generally book 90-120 days before departure.
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  4. dopeyfanatic

    dopeyfanatic DIS Veteran

    Jul 28, 2004
    Ok. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and wait a while to book it. It just makes me nervous being that close and not having it yet! I guess I have a year to wait until I start looking at booking then!


    Aug 12, 2006
    NEVER book that far ahead; the airlines give no incentives to book way out. The airline business is the story of one sale after another, sometimes started by a discount carrier and sometimes started by a regular airline. The sales typically cover the upcoming few months, sometimes a little longer. When one airline starts a sale, usually every airline matches the fare. That's when to buy. So don't even worry about it until 6 months before your trip....and likely even closer to your departure date than that. There are THOUSANDS of seats to Orlando every day, some are nonstop and some with a connection. No one is going to sell out. If you're coming in June, 2008, don't even begin looking until January, 2008. Quit worrying about it!

    BobK/Orlando (a travel agent)
  6. DonnaL

    DonnaL DIS Veteran

    Feb 4, 2005
    If the only reason you don't want to fly SW is seating.....please reconsider....we travel frequently on SW to WDW (usually 3 times a year) sometimes with two of us, sometimes four, and sometimes six. We've never had a problem all sitting together. How old are your children? If at least one of them is under four, you'll be able to preboard and not have a bit of a problem sitting together. Even if not, as long as you check in and print your boarding passes at the 24 hour mark you won't have a problem. On our last trip in October there were four of us and I forgot to check in until about 14 hour mark..we still got B passes and had no problem sitting together.....even with about 30/35 preboards and all the A's ahead of us. Actually, I prefer SW "cattlecall" seating because I can choose where I wish to sit as I get on the plane not where the airline has chosen for me to sit in advance. Sometimes it's to your benefit to be able to choose ......such as the time my husband and I were travelling and there was a couple who had spent WAY TOO MUCH time in the airport bar before the flight and were very loud and way too talkative with everyone who would listen to was very easy to avoid sitting by them on the flight.....not so if our seats had been pre-assigned.
  7. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

    May 20, 2006
    ITA!!! :thumbsup2
    We have 2 young boys that aren't young enough to preboard any more but we still get to sit together, even with B boarding passes.
    The $ we save by using SWA allows us to go more often too. We went to MCO in Sept and paid $44 each way from Philly. You can't beat that with a stick! ;) Combine that price with about $275 in credits we had and it sure makes for a sweet deal. No other airline even comes close. It was actually cheaper than driving. :cool1:
    Another perk of SWA is that they don't charge a fee to make any changes and it's sooo easy to do online.
    Also if they drop their price or you get a good Ding after you've booked, you can easily rebook online and get the difference in credits that can be used online for 1 yr from original purchase date. You can also get a 6 mo. extension if you won't be using them in 1 yr.
    Lastly, the employees at SWA are happy people. They seem to like their jobs and makes my flight anxiety a little better. They crack jokes on the PA system like during takeoff a FA announced,"Who ever was driving a blue Honda, you left your lights on." The whole plane cracked up.
    Sorry this is so long. I could go on and on about how I love Southwest! :love: :cloud9:
  8. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

    May 2, 2002
    I used to book at the 331 day early as was humanly possible with the legacy carriers...mostly Delta. Then, I sat for the next 10 months watching the myriad of time changes, equipment changes. Yes, I always got a great airfare booking this way, but I never, not once, flew at the time I originally booked for. It was somewhat stressful, to say the least.
    Now, I fly mainly JetBlue and Southwest. I can't book as far in advance but my flights very seldom change times. I get great fares. The 'cattle call' at SW isn't all that bad. Is it my favourite thing in the world? No, I really do prefer assigned seating, but even that can change. So, now I book one of those two airlines, and I've been quite happy with them. Good fares, good times, good service.
    Wait for their schedules to come out and then book.
  9. Armadillo4

    Armadillo4 DIS Veteran

    Oct 11, 2003
    ruadisneyfan2 makes a very good point! Most airlines allow you to re-fare or re-price your tickets if the fares drop after you book them. You get the difference in credits (or "vouchers") and not a refund to your credit card, but just apply the credit to your next trip. :goodvibes

    I was hoping this would happen when I booked my airline tickets for our trip this coming March. When we confirmed our dates at the end of November, I booked a flight on United from LAX-MCO at $332 r/t. This was an acceptable fare, but not great. I've certainly done better in the past, but I've never traveled during the Spring Break months and I wasn't certain how much lower it would go. So, I was okay with this fare if it had to be the "final" price. But I made it a point to check the fare regularly.

    Sure enough, just 4 days later on Dec. 1, it dropped to $297. I called United and they sent us vouchers for the difference ($35 ea.). Just two days ago, I went online again and it dropped to $217 (another $80 ea.). There are more vouchers coming in the mail to us soon. It probably won't drop any further, but I'll check it once a week until the end of Jan. just to be sure. :)

    Summary: at 100 days out, I booked our tickets at $332. At 70 days out, they dropped to $217. There's no need to book more than 6 months in advance unless you know that you're traveling during peak times--e.g. the 4th of July weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, etc. In which case, it would be prudent. I think someone above said 90-120 days out is their general benchmark. I would agree.

    Just like many people here post in this forum about the price of their rental cars dropping, make sure you check the price of your airfare from time to time. My advice is to go ahead and book your tickets when you feel you have a decent fare, but periodically check it afterwards to see if it drops.

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