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Thread: Best times to book flights

  1. #1
    Senior Member MrFredricksen's Avatar
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    Best times to book flights

    We are going at the end of August, so we are about 17 weeks out (4 months). I have been watching flights and kicking myself as prices seem to be going up slowly. Some websites I am reading are saying I should wait as the best time to book flights is closer to around 2 months out. We have never waited that long, we usually book around now.
    Did I miss the boat and should have booked already?
    Should we keep waiting?

    Any advice from personal experience would be great.

    Thanks
    A cold and rainy day at WDW is still better than a day at work.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    I think it depends a little on who you are flying with. We always fly southwest and the best day to book is opening day. In the past we were able to rebook at a lower price about 50% of the time, but the last couple years it's been lowest on the first day.

  3. #3
    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    JetBlue and Southwest it's almost always better to book the second fares come out. Sometimes Southwest will drop them along the way, and at least you can get a credit for the difference, but the potential fare increases (from Rochester or Buffalo) FAR outweigh any potential for savings. It's typical 2-3 months out for RT airfare to be $400-$600 whereas when the schedule first comes out fares are often closer to $300 RT. So yeah, they *might* go down $50, but they could also up $200-$300.

    For other airlines, try using the Kayak buy recommendation - at least it uses a lot more data specific to your city pairs and dates to generate a recommendation, rather than a one-size-fits-all anecdotal recommendation that may not be in any way accurate.
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    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    I've played the waiting game with both Delta and American, and it rarely has paid off for me. That is partly because I usually travel to WDW during the school year when schools are out, so the airlines see extra traffic from my city to Orlando and there is never a reason to drop prices. Late August might be different. But I will also note that I have had at least one experience when both Kayak and Hopper told me that waiting would pay off and it did not. OTOH, it didn't really cost me much from the time I started watching.
    Mark
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  5. #5
    Senior Member MrFredricksen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DopeyRunr View Post

    For other airlines, try using the Kayak buy recommendation - at least it uses a lot more data specific to your city pairs and dates to generate a recommendation, rather than a one-size-fits-all anecdotal recommendation that may not be in any way accurate.
    I have been using Kayak for ages and I never noticed that recommendation before until you mentioned it. But is says "unlikely in the next 7 days", I would think it would have a little further out forecast considering it is so far away.
    A cold and rainy day at WDW is still better than a day at work.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MrFredricksen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgarbowski View Post
    I've played the waiting game with both Delta and American, and it rarely has paid off for me. That is partly because I usually travel to WDW during the school year when schools are out, so the airlines see extra traffic from my city to Orlando and there is never a reason to drop prices. Late August might be different. But I will also note that I have had at least one experience when both Kayak and Hopper told me that waiting would pay off and it did not. OTOH, it didn't really cost me much from the time I started watching.
    Schools in my area don't start until after labor day, so late August does still see a lot of families going on vacation. I feel like we have already missed the boat on good prices as one flight we were interested in has almost doubled already. With 4 people, even a $10 increase costs $80.
    A cold and rainy day at WDW is still better than a day at work.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    I should mention that our schedule changed this year and we are going two weeks before you in August. I don't know if I did right, but FWIW I bought our tickets 3 weeks ago.
    Mark
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    2008 Easter SSR, 2011 February SSR, 2012 February Jambo House/BLT, 2013 Easter BLT, 2014 Easter BWV, 2014 Christmas week CBR, 2015 Easter BWV, 2016 Feb Universal Portofino, 2017 February Poly, 2017 July OKW solo, 2017 Christmas week POFQ, 2018 P-week Wilderness Lodge

  8. #8
    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgarbowski View Post
    But I will also note that I have had at least one experience when both Kayak and Hopper told me that waiting would pay off and it did not.
    To be clear, I'm not recommending it. I was primarily pointing out that it at least has some kind of methodology behind it rather than a vague "eight weeks out is good" proclamation.
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  9. #9
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    I too am a Southwest flyer and I try and book as soon as possible. Fares can go down during specific fare sales but usually I see them doubling if not tripling in price the closer the date becomes. Remember unless you clear your cookies, fares also go up bc you are repetitively checking for the same information.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DopeyRunr View Post
    To be clear, I'm not recommending it. I was primarily pointing out that it at least has some kind of methodology behind it rather than a vague "eight weeks out is good" proclamation.
    And to be clear, my info was not meant to suggest that your idea of using Kayak or similar services is worthless. It's just helpful to be warned not to trust them too much.
    Mark
    2004 May Offsite,
    2008 Easter SSR, 2011 February SSR, 2012 February Jambo House/BLT, 2013 Easter BLT, 2014 Easter BWV, 2014 Christmas week CBR, 2015 Easter BWV, 2016 Feb Universal Portofino, 2017 February Poly, 2017 July OKW solo, 2017 Christmas week POFQ, 2018 P-week Wilderness Lodge

  11. #11
    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    Haha yeah I didn’t think you were suggesting that, I was just a little unclear in my initial post and upon reflecting it looked like I was endorsing the Kayak prediction.
    Follow me on Twitter at: @DopeyRunr
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  12. #12
    Senior Member MrFredricksen's Avatar
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    We booked this morning. Actually got the best deal yet. Only a few snags.
    1 - By finding the flight on Kayak and then clicking through to that, an option became available for American Airlines. It was sign up for their credit card, annual fee waived for the first year, $250 credit toward the flights, and free bags.
    2 - Our flight there is at 5:05AM! Not sure a big deal because the cheapest other fair we were considering getting was Frontier at 5:30 AM!
    3 - The flight there has a connection.
    4 - Not sure how seats are assigned. The class of ticket did not let us pick seats or even purchase them. They are "assigned at check in". I am not sure what they mean by "assigned" and if we are allowed to pick those seat ourselves at that check in time. My youngest is 14 and we would like her to sit with either me or my DW. Hopefully if American Airlines actually does the assignment they are smart enough to try and get at least 2 seats together. Has anyone flown AA recently and know how those seat assignments work?
    A cold and rainy day at WDW is still better than a day at work.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    Most airlines have added this type of fare class. You will not get to pick seats yourself. Any decent gate employee will try to accommodate you, but if there are no open seat pairs left, then there is little the gate person can do. BUT, I have seen flight staff ask for volunteers to shift so that a parent can sit with a child and someone usually does so.
    Mark
    2004 May Offsite,
    2008 Easter SSR, 2011 February SSR, 2012 February Jambo House/BLT, 2013 Easter BLT, 2014 Easter BWV, 2014 Christmas week CBR, 2015 Easter BWV, 2016 Feb Universal Portofino, 2017 February Poly, 2017 July OKW solo, 2017 Christmas week POFQ, 2018 P-week Wilderness Lodge

  14. #14
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    Not AA but we fly the ultra cheap ticket class version of Norwegian. No meals, no crackers, no water, no seat assignments, no nuthin. Generally, when you check in, they assign you the next available seats then (you do not pick). They do try to get your party together. Every time the 3 of us have been together- even on completely full flights. I've been told you can ask if they have any other seats available if you don't get what you want and they are accommodating. Also, arriving as early as possible helps (less same day seats have been assigned at that point). Though, with a 5:20 flight, I don't know how early you can be (realistically).

    A final trick, log on a day or two before and go through the motions of buying another ticket. Go to the tab where they assign seats and see how many are grayed out. if there are lots of seats available either (a) the flight is not sold out or (b) everyone else went with the cheap rate too. Both would be good news for you.

    Good luck.
    MaryEllen

  15. #15
    Senior Member QueenBee's Avatar
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    Check in online at the 24 hour in advance mark. You may have the option to select seats at that point.

  16. #16
    Senior Member broncobill's Avatar
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    I've generally found that the best prices are about 45 days prior to your flight.
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