Airfare Question

When should I book my airfare? I have looked at leaving different days and see that leaving on Mon or Tue vs. Sat saves about $200 per person. I have always heard that waiting until Jan. or Feb. will help to find lower airfare but I have been looking at hotels and some are already starting to fill up for Jun 2014. I am afraid that by waiting until 2014 to save a few dollars on air may be lost on more expensive lodging. Looking at a open jaw ticket: Miami-Frankfurt, Vienna-Venice, Venice-Miami is currently at $1,620. How much cheaper would I expect to see this fare in Jan. or Feb.? thanks,
David

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

OK, David, this is how you do it; reserve your Hotel now or early, some may not be reserving that far in advance. If your plans change you will be able to cancel far enough in advance so you are not penalized. Traditionally, airfare seems to always be less in Jan.-Feb. However......your days are shorter than July-August. I generally like to leave on a Thursday and return on a Monday.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3205 posts

Jim, I think you misunderstood David.. his trip is in June 2014 and is asking if he should wait until Jan-Feb to buy tickets. I think $1620 is high David, but if that includes the Venice-Vienna flight maybe not. No one knows if prices will go up or down. It's always a gamble. I used to always buy 9-12 mos ahead, until the last trip.. I was swayed by advice on this Helpline to wait until 2-3 mos ahead.. I waited and the price went sky high. I was forced to pay $600 more per ticket in the end. I was not happy and I will never do that again. I'm wondering if the hotels you say are booked, really are booked. Most places don't take reservations this far in advance. If you get a message along the lines of "unavailable for those dates" it may not mean they're booked, it may mean they're not taking reservations for that time period yet.

Posted by David
Miami, FL, United States
49 posts

Thanks Susan. What do you think is a typical airfare for this trip. I have never been so not sure what range I should be looking for in a price drop.

Posted by Tina
Lakeland, FL, USA
29 posts

I would recommend booking your hotels. I am traveleing to Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Sept-Oct, 2014 and I've booked all my lodging. They all took reservations and I have my confirmations in hand. I don't have my flights but have been watching prices for the same time this year. After flying there twice, I know the ballpark for flights. We are flying into Frankfurt and out of Munich. There are two events going on that we will be visiting, so we had to plan early. Like someone else posted, you can cancel if needed. Better to have your lodging than to be stranded.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Before our recent retirement, we always traveled in June. Every trip I bought the plane tickets around New Year's, booked the hotel rooms in January. We always got the rooms we wanted - never ran into any place that in January was already fully booked for June.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3205 posts

"After flying there twice, I know the ballpark for flights" Tina, what IS the ballpark price from Florida? David, I don't know what it is from Florida, but it's definitely less than from San Francisco. From here, I consider $1200-$1300 good, and less than $1200 excellent. Now that's not including the Vienna-Venice part. I don't know what's reasonable for that leg. Hopefully someone else who knows will be able to answer.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
912 posts

You might like to play around with www.itasoftware.com before making a firm decision. The company supplies information services to many not all, I emphasize international airlines. Running a test for June I found an open-jaws Miami-Frankfort-Venice-Miami ticket for about $1200. It was on TAP, the Portuguese airline, with a stop in Lisbon each way. Others were much closer to your quote. But it really is too early to buy. Aside from price gyrations, the further ahead you book, the higher the chances of schedule ations. My thinking is that you might get a cheap price from Europe's no-frills lines for Vienna-Venice. But right now their prices are not low. I use www.skyscanner.com for these airlines. itasoftware.com does not sell tickets; you can take their information to the airline sites or agencies. The old rules-of-thumb about what days have lower fares may have applied to US travel but really don't seem true on international flights now.
Reserving your hotels sounds like good advice, but I'd wait until December or early January for the flights (and in fact I am, to fly the Atlantic next June too.)

Posted by Hans
Portland, OR, USA
2 posts

David, in addition to checking out the airfare, I would take a look at the train connection between Vienna and Venice. There is a night train that drops you almost into the center of Venice.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

The journey from Vienna to Venice is somewhat difficult due to the Alps. You have to go by train, then by bus, and finish up by train. And unfortunately there are no budget air carriers flying between Vienna and Venice. It's hard to tell what the airfare prices will be for Summer, 2014. The airlines continue to make flight changes according to supply and demand, and they're keeping the airfares very high in the busy Summer months. Even the March 29 through June 1st Spring fares are sky high.
If you are going to Europe in 2014, budget airfares are not expected. Sometimes travelers have to suck it up and pay the price. Costs can often be balanced by booking less expensive rooms.

Posted by Michael
Griffith, IN, USA
440 posts

We are going late June to mid July. Ord to Paris Venice to Ord right now on US Airways 5510.00 for 4. It has gone down about 100.00 per ticket in the last month. Buy when you feel comfortable. No one can predict a drop in price. Before 08 prices did go down as the months grew closer. I don't see that anymore. If the price hits 1200.00 out of Chicago I am buying.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4764 posts

Sometimes you need to look at events happening in the cities where you want a hotel. A large festival, a marathon, a big trade fair or convention can double or triple prices or make rooms scarce. You also need to look at vacations in the various cities. They are staggered through-out Europe and in each of the states in Germany. If vacation begins in the city you are flying into or out of, this will also raise the prices.