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Cheapest time to purchase airfare to London from New York, back from Paris

Hello - My wife and I are planning to fly from New York to London at the end of September or early October, spend 30 days with a Global Eurail Pass and then fly back to New York from Paris. We've been watching ticket prices on Priceline and OneTravel trying to lock in the best prices.

Are we better off booking now or waiting until we get closer to the departure date?

Thanks much.

Posted by
2762 posts

What price are you looking for? What airline do you prefer?

I see RT to LHR on British Airways for $850, departing late September and returning late October. Are you looking for cheaper than that?

ITA Matrix shows a lowest fare for September departures of $692 on Transaero, with a stopin VKO, wherever that is. All other airlines come up at $850or higher. Personally I would go with that.

Posted by
2762 posts

Iceland Air is $722 if you pick the right dates. You would have a stopover in Iceland on the way.

Posted by
15577 posts

Looks like you could get it now for $913. Its less than 3 months away, so you might as well jump on it.

Posted by
11681 posts

You have to be careful with price comparisons using websites like Priceline and even ITA Matrix. Sometimes the fares shown are not actually available. But I checked the airline websites for British Airways and Iceland Air and confirmed the prices she reported are available.

No one knows if they will come down between now and September. I would say it is unlikely---but could certainly be wrong. FWIW, I never wait this late to book our Europe trips.

One caveat regarding British Airways---they are an excellent airline and we always use them, but they do charge to select seats if you want to do it ahead of time (i.e. Before online check-in 24 hours ahead of the flight).

Posted by
20628 posts

Stop and think about your question. If there was a known magic time to buy the cheapest ticket, then the smart people would simply wait till that time. There is no best, magic, special, cheapest time to buy airfare. It is like trying to buy a stock at the low point or sell at the high point. No one knows. If they say they do, they are just blowing smoke and you are a sucker for believing them.

Our experience, and it is just our experience, is that the consistently cheapest prices are about nine months out. The prices climb slowly with an occasion dip of $50 to 100 for a couple days. Sometimes, but it seems to be less frequent these days, there can be a big drop for a short time around the three month mark. But on our last trip that never occurred. Remember all the ticket prices are being set by computer programs that are constantly monitoring the sales. And those prices can literally change hour to hour and almost always day to day. It is game that is difficult for the average consumer to win because you don't know all the rules.

If you have been watching the prices for a while you should know the range. If it hits the low end of that range, then buy and don't look back. You can always gamble that the prices will be cheaper in the future but what if they are not. The other drawback to waiting is that some schedules might not be available and seating becomes limited.

Good luck.

Posted by
1406 posts

Everytime there's an article about this, the answer is:

It Depends
Who Knows

Try sites like YAPTA and Google Flight to see what those experts think.

Posted by
5435 posts

and don't go via Moscow to get to London from New York!!

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks everyone. We already have some shopper's remorse because we could have saved a couple hundred bucks if we had booked nonstop flights a couple days ago. I think we're ready to lock in and make the commitment. Hope the weather cooperates. Our other trip to Europe was the spring of 2014 so at least we've got a bit of strength with the dollar vs euro going our way ... we bought a thousand euros in April.

Posted by
101 posts

You're probably getting ready to spend thousands of dollars travelling through Europe for 30 days. Why worry about a possible difference of a few hundred dollars for airfare. Find the best dates, times and connections for your travel and book it directly with the airline. It will be done and you can concentrate on planning the fun parts of the trip. Any price change that occurs will be insignificant in relative terms of your total trip -- and it's really not worth the hassle of flying through Moscow to get to London :>)

Posted by
16769 posts

OK, sounds like you're about done with that and can start to lock in some other travel dates. If you will need a Eurostar train ticket or a flight from London to the Continent, then booking early tends to get you a better price. Also, if you'll be using the Eurail pass and need seat reservations back to Paris on a fast train, they go on sale about 3 months out and would be safer to have in hand before you leave home.