Buying Airfare

We have never traveled to Europe in December but are considering taking a trip next year during December. When do airlines typically start putting those airfares on sale? When I have bought for our March trips in the past I've bought as early as the first week of November all the way up until the first part of February. Are airfares typically more expensive that time of year, meaning $1000 or more? Even looking for airfare now for a trip this coming March its at $1200+, a lot more expensive than previous years. We're hoping it goes down so we can go this spring.

Posted by Robert
Portland
629 posts

Airfares to Europe are significantly higher now than in past years; even just last year. As to December, they're usually lower earlier in the month, but go up substantially as you get nearer to Christmas.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

Karen: You're from Atlanta, and you need to check your local travel guru, at ClarkHoward.com for airfare tips. Clark's flight tips are as good as it gets. You also have a large local consolidator that buys discounted flights in bulk that may can help. I once went to Austria and Italy in February to ski, and it was very cold. (I'm used to California warm weather skiing @ Tahoe.) I prefer touring Europe the first 2 weeks of April or going in May before the crowds show up. Checking http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ 3-4 months prior to your trip looking for price trends. 60 days out is usually the optimum time to buy a ticket, so I'll be watching closer for dips in rates. Remember that fares usually go up dramatically on 4/1 and 6/1. The Summer of 2013 flights are going to be really tough on the pocketbook.

Posted by Judy
Grass Valley, California
113 posts

As said before, airfare is significantly higher these days than years past. So I just try and find an average price and shop around with that price in mind. I find that you have a short window after Labor Day and through most of October before they all seem to rise for the holidays.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

"When do airlines typically start putting those airfares on sale?" This is like the famous trick question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" You are assuming the airlines will put these fares on sale; as posted above, they may not. If you do want to find out about sales, sign up for the airfare sale alerts, both on Kayak and on the individual airline websites. For my September 2012 trip to Germany, I was able to take advantage of a sale on Air Berlin that only lasted 3 days, and that I only knew about because I flew them in 2004 and was still on their e-mail notification list!

Posted by Georgiatraveler
Atlanta, GA
209 posts

Thanks everyone. I know they may not put them on sale but since we've never traveled that time of year I wasn't sure when they might start. Especially since our prior year purchases have been so scattered over a 4 month period. Oh I signed up for all airlines that we have flown and kayak years ago plus I am always checking Expedia and Orbitz.

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
749 posts

When gas prices dipped to below $3/gal last week, I quickly checked out all my airline sites...ALAS....the recent price decreases at the pump have not been reflected in airfares yet.
LOL.....you can always hope!

Posted by James
Frisco
1803 posts

I just checked flights to Budapest in February and was shocked at how cheap they were. Of course, this was Budapest in February................