Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
dsa181920

How far out to book flights?

Recommended Posts

We have a cruise booked for late June 2020 from Southampton. We plan to fly from Florida to London Heathrow.  When is the best time to book flights?

 

Sallie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always book as soon as possible. I already booked for July 2020 and prices have gone up since then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little reading around the board would be beneficial.  There is no one best time...it varies by route and demand on that route. We have booked SFO-IAD-FCO for May already,  back VCE-MUC-SFO in June. Chances are good the cheaper seats for your desired travel routes are being booked right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CruiseBruce has it right.  There is no best time.

 

I get a sense of what prices are like and then make the decision.  In my case I book early but part of that is to get the seats I desire.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have found that booking international air is very different than booking NA air.  

 

Some of the best fares we have scored occurred 2-4 weeks out.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please read this article - https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/03/how-do-airlines-price-seat-tickets.html

 

Airfares tend to be high when they're first released (typically 11 months pre-flight) and trend down as the airlines gauge demand and competition, then at some point their (very complicated, very thorough, very secret) "yield management" computer programs start adjusting available fares - generally upward - as things progress, with only high fares being left a few days before the flight.

 

Anybody who says you should buy at X weeks or Y months before your flight to get the best prices is blowing smoke.  You can't out-think the airlines' algorithms, and if you could, nobody would buy tickets until the "cheapest" time, and then the airlines would react instantly and make the low fares go away.

 

Decide what you can afford, be patient, and when you buy, don't look back.  

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First thing is are there cancellation fees or exchange, if not ASAP as nothing to lose.  If you have status at Hotel/Air you got some more flexibility, as well as if you are using points.

 

For most things like cruises; book as soon as I know that is what my vacation will be,

Hotels:  probably 3 months out start looking and pricing, expect for things like sporting events where I'll do it one year out.  All my hotels are points so book year out and cancel if I don't need it.

Airfare:  Points ASAP once available, reality is supply is pretty good even in peak summer, do it usually 3 months out except for Thanksgiving / Christmas / NY if I must travel at peak time, that is usually 6 months out.

Car:  Once I know as no cancellation fee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, chipmaster said:

 

Car:  Once I know as no cancellation fee.

 

This depends...many car rental companies are now offering different fares for flexible and pre-paid rentals. If someone just goes for the cheapest, they may very well end up with a pre-paid, non-refundable rental and they can be out some or all of that money. Best be careful when booking...often, if you are on a flexible rental rate, they don't even ask for a credit card to hold, so if you're being prompted to put in a credit card, double check what fare you have, and its cancellation policy, before going through with the booking process. This is something I come across regularly in both US and European rentals. 

Edited by Zach1213

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Zach1213 said:

 

This depends...many car rental companies are now offering different fares for flexible and pre-paid rentals. If someone just goes for the cheapest, they may very well end up with a pre-paid, non-refundable rental and they can be out some or all of that money. Best be careful when booking...often, if you are on a flexible rental rate, they don't even ask for a credit card to hold, so if you're being prompted to put in a credit card, double check what fare you have, and its cancellation policy, before going through with the booking process. This is something I come across regularly in both US and European rentals. 

 

We do costco, never had a problem canceling for Christmas, frees up a valuable car for the late planners, LOL.

 

My status also has a few perks for anything I book direct

Edited by chipmaster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, chipmaster said:

 

We do costco, never had a problem canceling for Christmas, frees up a valuable car for the late planners, LOL.

 

My status also has a few perks for anything I book direct

 

I get that, but that's just one scenario. Even the largest of rental car companies often offer different fares that may or may not be free to cancel. People need to just double check before plopping the card down on any kind of travel, rental cars included.

 

As an aside, and something to add, one perk of not putting money down ahead is that rental cars (and hotels) do fluctuate in prices. Most people seem to only think about plane tickets coming down in price, but hotels and rental cars often do too. It's very common for me to re-book either at a lower rate down the road...just did this the other day for a car rental at Ontario, where it dropped $50/week so I just cancelled my current reservation and re-booked. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Zach1213 said:

As an aside, and something to add, one perk of not putting money down ahead is that rental cars (and hotels) do fluctuate in prices. Most people seem to only think about plane tickets coming down in price, but hotels and rental cars often do too. It's very common for me to re-book either at a lower rate down the road...just did this the other day for a car rental at Ontario, where it dropped $50/week so I just cancelled my current reservation and re-booked. 

 

Autoslash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the information. We went ahead and booked our flights tonight.

 

Sallie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know its too late for Sallie, but I wanted to jump in here with a suggestion.  Several cruise lines (HAL, Princess, Seabourn or examples) offer the option of booking your air through the cruise line (they actually use a separate air agency).  The lines I mentioned (and some others) offer what is often called "Flex Air" which is a reservation that can later be changed or cancelled without any kind of penalties.  With that Flex air system you do not even have t pay for the flight until around 45 days prior to your cruise.  When we use those cruise lines and will need a longer (more expensive) International air booking we will try to grab one of their better Flex Air offerings ASAP...which is about 330 days prior to the disembarkation date.  Once we have a Flexair booking we will routinely look at other options (booking on our own) with the knowledge that we can always cancel that Flex air reservation without penalty.  

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I checked the various airfare options months ahead of when I could book my airfare to BCN and home from FCO.  Put in various dates before my dates became available to book, just to get an idea of airfare costs. 

 

When my dates opened up to airfare booking, I had a very good idea of what a good price was.  Booked my flights 2 days after they opened up.

 

So far the airfare costs for my flights have been 30 percent to 50 percent higher, even double what I paid.   I'm happy with my purchase.

 

Certainly not a perfect method, but does give you useful information as to what prices may be.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bbtondo said:

I checked the various airfare options months ahead of when I could book my airfare to BCN and home from FCO.  Put in various dates before my dates became available to book, just to get an idea of airfare costs. 

 

When my dates opened up to airfare booking, I had a very good idea of what a good price was.  Booked my flights 2 days after they opened up.

 

So far the airfare costs for my flights have been 30 percent to 50 percent higher, even double what I paid.   I'm happy with my purchase.

 

Certainly not a perfect method, but does give you useful information as to what prices may be.

 

Pretty much the system we use, and we get similar results. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our best transpacific flight cost, out of the last five trips, was booked ten days prior to departure.

 

We booked an open jaw to Athens for early Sept and a return through London for next week.  We booked six weeks out or so because we saw a price that we were happy with.  

 

Our ticket price did not increase.  It was actually $10. Less expensive five days prior to departure.  But....we were not boarding a cruise or doing a tour.  Our schedule was/extremely flexible.

 

Our advice is understand what a good price is and book a fare that you are happy with.  Never expect to get the lowest fare, just a good fare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...