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Air tips and tricks

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by hotreds, May 16, 2015.

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  1. hotreds

    hotreds VIP Whale

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    Since many if not most here fly to Vegas, what are your tricks and tips for finding the best airfare et al. I read somewhere that a month out is the best time to book. What say you?
     
    Will give them a try!
  2. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Travel agents and experts will usually say best time to check is late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning because its Tuesday nights when the airlines adjust fares based on number of seats still available... Don't know if thats true or not: it should all be handled in real time by computers nowadays and that just sounds like an old holdover from the pre-computer era when prices/seat inventory would have to have been calculated/adjusted manually.

    A month sounds good though: too far out and there isn't any incentive for the airlines to lower prices - no rush to sell the seats, but wait too long and as seat availability goes down, prices go up.

    Because our travel dates are always flexible we usually check 4-6 weeks out and what I do is pick a range of dates that we can take for our vacation and then I check the one way flights each day for the first half of the trip and then the one way flights back for the last half of the trip.

    So I might see on Mondays the lowest priced one way flights are $160pp, on Tuesdays it might be $110, on Wednesday its $140, on Thursday its $120, Friday is $190...

    I find that there are usually certain dates when fares are lowest, like in my case Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days of the week to fly: with more flights on those days the fares are typically lower, and then as said since our times are flexible I can set the trip itinerary based on the best available fares I can mix and match from the prices of flights down and back.
     
  3. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    It's very market-dependent.

    You really have to put a lot of time in checking fares daily (even after you book), for a few trip cycles, until you have a sense of what a "good" price is.

    Once you have your target price, you just check every day until it gets hit, then book.

    From BOS, I usually find my target price gets hit about 5 months out.

    It's probably true in general that Tues, Weds and Sat are the cheapest days to fly and Sun, Mon and Fri are the most expensive; that's due to business travel. I love flying on to LAS on Saturdays, in addition to the price, everything just seems more relaxed.
     
  4. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    The late Tuesday night thing used to be more true than it is now, at least from what I noticed. 7-8 years ago I knew that Continentals fares would adjust around 0200hrs on Wednesday morning so when I was looking to book an international trip that is when I would find the best fares.

    Now it seems as if the revenue management teams, who set and adjust the fares, are just as likely to do it on a Thursday afternoon or Sunday morning.

    Chuck is right that it is market dependent. It also makes a big difference if you're flying from an airlines hub city or an outlier. I live in Houston and many of the fares I get are higher because its a hub of United. I was checking IAH-SFO prices the other day and they were outrageous. But if I added a connection in there or drove to SAT or AUS and flew from there the fare decreased bt a couple hundred bucks (even though I would have to connect in Houston - on the same plane that I would take if I booked IAH-SFO direct).

    My sweet spot for fares is 30-45 days out usually. The United fare for my July trip right now is sitting, and has been for a couple weeks, at $800. I monitor the fare bucket to see if inventory decreases and once I see the availability drop then I will pull the booking trigger before the fare bucket inventory sells out.

    For example that $800 fare is for first class on a P fare bucket. The P fare bucket is considered a discounted first class seat. Flights on the same day I want to fly no longer have P fare inventory and are at A fares which is a full rate first class fare....$1100 compared to the $800 of the P fare bucket.

    One trick that works on occasion is the deleting of cookies and logging out of your account prior to searching. Check that fare three or four times a day and the airline website will know this and sometimes it'll stay the same price, or higher, than if you checked with fresh cookies and not being logged in. Once when I was in PHL I kept getting a high fare for a trip. I'd read about the cookies thing and I used my sisters laptop to see and sure enough it was $125 lower. This doesn't happen all the time but its worth checking into.

    Chuck's advice about knowing the fare range is solid. If you're checking every day and it is steady in the $500-$525 range then you know if you log in the next morning and see a $460 its probably time to grab that $460.
     
  5. Jane42

    Jane42 Low-Roller

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    RockyBalboa - well, that explains why my son and I kept getting different pricing when we were trying to schedule flights last year! We were sitting right next to each other and checking SW flights to Las Vegas and I kept getting flights for $20 less. Not sure what he did, but he was finally able to get the same lower price that I was seeing.
     
  6. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights VIP Whale

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    Saturday flights to and from Vegas are usually the most inexpensive along with Tuesday and Wednesday. I get every other Friday off, so I always choose that weekend, and I tack a day-off on Thursday and maybe Wednesday. This also means I get Sunday to recover from my trip. Flying Fridays to Vegas and Sundays out of Vegas are always more expensive.

    Southwest always has periods where they have cheaper deals on most flights at least two weeks in advance. I usually wait until I get one of those e-mails from them.
     
  7. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    Indeed! I kinda stumbled on that several years ago when I went to work one day and pulled up Continental's site and the fare was much less...until I logged in.

    Exactly, Normally I come into Vegas on a Thursday night and leave on a Tuesday to avoid the McCarran crush and the higher fares. This time I am coming in on a Monday night and leaving Saturday afternoon...
     
  8. hotreds

    hotreds VIP Whale

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    But aren't hotel rates much higher over the weekend?
     
    Will give them a try!
  9. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    Yes.

    However its all relative. The week before Christmas the weekend rates could be $89 a night. And then during a convention or big event a weekday night could be $499.
     
  10. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    If I may quote the late, great Robert Heinlein, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch".
     
  11. hotreds

    hotreds VIP Whale

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    Truer words were never spoken! " You can pay me now or pay me later!"
     
    Will give them a try!
  12. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    Since SWA doesn't charge a change fee I'll book airfare as soon as I can. Then I just keep checking and if I find a lower fare I rebook and get the difference as a credit for my next flight. I'd say that more 50% of the time at least one of the flights goes down and I get a credit.
     
  13. LoveDowntownVegas

    LoveDowntownVegas Low-Roller

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    Same here. I usually wait to book what I consider a reasonable price ($200 - $250) then just watch the prices to see if they get better. Usually they do and I will just rebook the same flight.
    it's even better when using points as I don't have to worry about keeping track of the monetary credit on my account.
     
    Futbol - final game
  14. kewidogg

    kewidogg Low-Roller

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    Additionally, everyone should bookmark www.skiplagged.com particularly if you are located in a city with a major airport, and/or often have layovers in places.

    Go to the site to read how it works, but it saved my buddy $50 for our flight this summer (round trip from Seattle to Las Vegas for $211 after all taxes and fees)
     
  15. hotreds

    hotreds VIP Whale

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    We need to make this a STICKY!
     
    Will give them a try!
  16. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    It also depends on what airlines you take. From Hawaii, Hawaiian air is usually the cheapest (for now, at least until Virgin and SW gets their Hawaii legs going). I notice that Hawaiian usually has seasonal sales (up to 3 months out) where for a few days they drop their prices until the seats start to fill up. You have to book quickly as the seats for the popular flights/days fill up within days so the prices go back up in a few days.

    I usually use prior years as my baseline, if they can go down to those rates they usually don't drop any further so I will usually book at that time. The past few years I can get a r/t flight to vegas for under $500 but this year the prices are all over $600 and up (even though the seats aren't filled) so not very hopeful that the prices will drop that much. Strange because fuel rates are dropping but yet they keep their rates high.

    Of course you can also go through other airports for lower rates. In March I used Hawaiian and went to San fran for only $350 r/t. I used SW for SFO - LAS and it was only $115 for the r/t so I basically paid only $465 instead of paying close to $525 just to go to vegas (I like to stop off at san fran for a few days so this was perfect for me).
     
  17. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    Keep in mind with SWA the credit you get if you rebook at a lower far expires in a year (from the time of your original reservation not the date of the flight). If you know you won't be traveling again by that time the credit will do you no good. I've heard stories about some getting that date extended but it's pretty rare.
     
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