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Flights

Have any of you who are going on the RS tours for next year booked your flights yet or are you waiting until after Dec. 31 to see if the tours are actually going to happen? If you haven’t booked your flights yet, when do you plan to do so?

Posted by
1059 posts

I feel reasonable comfortable that RS tours will go next year, and have made flight arrangements for a late April tour using miles.

I am also signed up for tour in October, and probably won't look at flights till early 2022 for that one.

Posted by
1492 posts

Before you buy flights make sure the airlines are currently flying those routes. Don't purchase flights that aren't running yet, or you could be subject to cancelations/changes. This just happened on our recent Swiss trip. We learned a lot. Use Flight Aware to check if the flight is being flown, how dependable it is, and if it flies everyday.
Safe travels!

Posted by
1237 posts

Thanks, Pat. That is a concern of mine. One of the flight legs that I am looking at is on Alitalia which will cease to exist in a couple of weeks. I will look at flight aware before I book. I have a feeling that things will still be very fluid for quite a while.

Posted by
5042 posts

You aren’t going to know until a few weeks before the tour date that it will definitely run in all likelihood and you certainly won’t be able to say for certain by 31 December. If booking flights, make sure you have good insurance in place or refundable fares and be prepared for numerous flight changes.

Posted by
1237 posts

Thanks, Jennifer. Yes, these are very challenging times for travel. 2020 was a pain the neck to sort out a lot of canceled trips, refunds, etc. I have a feeling we may be in for more of the same but have my fingers crossed that it may soon get a bit better.

Posted by
3652 posts

I will make my reservations next week using FF miles for a Sept. tour. I can cancel these reservations up until the day of the flight and still get a full refund of miles and fees. If I don’t make them in advance, my options will be fewer. I think you could book a fully refundable ticket at any time.

Non-refundable? I’d wait for two things. 1. A time closer to the actual tour. 2. A good sale.
To catch that good sale, start monitoring prices now.

Posted by
1237 posts

Thanks, Carol. I have started monitoring flights and prices. I have heard buying “ refundable” tickets is pricey. My options for insurance would probably be cancel for any reason which might be my best option.

Posted by
5042 posts

I have already had a flight change for February - meant to be a return flight to/from Gatwick, but EasyJet cancelled Gatwick flights that day on that route and were proposing to return me to Luton, about 50 miles away from my car at Gatwick ! Had to chop 2 days off the holiday to get back into Gatwick.

Posted by
12563 posts

Pat, the reason that British Airways had not flown from San Diego to London since March 2020 had nothing to do with an arbitrary cancellation policy. Flights to the US from Europe were restricted to certain named airports after the March 2020 covid-related travel bans were introduced. San Diego airport was not one of them. See the (now outdated and archived) DHS memo announcing the restrictions:

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/03/13/department-homeland-security-outlines-new-process-americans-returning-certain

So all previously-booked BA flights into and out of SAN were cancelled for some time. But at some later point they must have counted on the re-opening of other airports, and they started selling tickets for flights to airports such as yours for dates in mid-2021, in hopes that the travel ban would be lifted and normal schedules could be resumed. It has taken longer than anyone thought back in March 2020, and things are still not back to normal for international flights between the US and Europe (or other international destinations).

From what I can see, BA is still not flying out of SAN directly to London; they will put you on an American Airlines flight to a different US airport to connect to a BA flight to London. But you can fly to London on BA tomorrow from LAX, SFO, or SEA on the west coast, and many other airports around the country.

Until the so-called “travel ban” is fully rescinded and Europeans are allowed to travel to the US for tourism, flight schedules are going to remain in flux. That could take some time, especially since there is considerable disagreement regarding what it means to be “fully vaccinated” and whether people who received mixed doses (as did many Canadians, French, and Germans) can qualify.

In the meantime, checking to see whether an airline is flying to Europe today or tomorrow is of limited value in planning for the future. People flying out of major airports that were and are on the “approved” list may have less to be concerned about, but we all need to be prepared to be flexible and able to accept schedule and flight changes if we want to visit Europe in these “unprecedented times”.

My advice to Mary would be to wait bit before booking flights, unless you can book fully refundable tickets with air miles. We just do not know what next year will bring, covid-wise and travel-wise.

Posted by
790 posts

I have bought my flight tickets already for the RS Scandinavia tour next July, if the tour itself is canceled my wife and I will go ahead and go anyway and do the same route ourselves.

Unless another Covid variant pops up we should be okay, also the price was so low I could not afford not to buy the tickets.

Posted by
1039 posts

We are booked for two RS tours in 2022: Munich-Salzburg-Vienna (May) and Best of England (September), and have not booked flights yet. We are waiting until December to decide if we are going on these trips. To make it more complicated, we are traveling with another couple on both tours.

Posted by
1639 posts

We booked our airfare because we had BA voucher from our cancelled 2020 trip. We are currently booked on 2 RS tours starting the end of April 2022. If the tours don’t go and the flights do, we figure out something on our own. We decided not to worry about whether the flights are currently flying as we’ve seen how fast things change. However, our first tour is Sicily and we are holding off booking the flight from Rome to Palermo until the Alitalia changeover is completed. We allowed ourselves extra time on the flights to Europe to allow for last minute changes

Posted by
33 posts

We have already booked flights into/out of London for our RS Southern England tour in May. We wanted Delta specifically and last time we waited too long and the comfort seats were long gone. (We have long legs and it's not fun to have your knees touching the back of the seat in front of you for hours on end) Insurance will protect us if the tour isn't able to go.

Posted by
54 posts

We made our flight reservations almost as soon as we registered for the early March RS "Athens and the Peloponnese" tour. We were eager to get back in the saddle again. The reservations are on United, and I've been following the flight ever since we booked. We also made our pre- and post-tour hotel reservations as soon as we had the hotel's name. My head is almost exploding with anticipation and it's all I can do to not drag the carry-on out and start packing. With positive news about boosters and treatments we are pretty confident that the tour will happen. If it doesn't we'll do some kind of independent travel.

We also have a Disney cruise booked for mid-August 2022 for Scandinavian ports. We won't make those flight reservations until much closer to departure. Disney shortened all of their Fall 2021 cruises to 3 days with much-curtailed cruise amenities, so we are waiting to see what happens next year. This cruise was reimbursement for the March 2020 Panama Canal Cruise that we were on when Covid lockdowns began. We were given credits and discounts and booked for an August 2021 cruise that was cancelled. Oh well, third time is the charm. . . .

Posted by
1866 posts

We had a travel credit with Iceland Air from our canceled RS tour Paris & The Heart of France. Iceland Air had a sale, so I have booked our flights to Paris for next April. Was nice not to have to pay and since I got a better price then when I booked the flights previously, I still have a $1000 credit to use up!

Posted by
1237 posts

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. I really appreciate it. I agree with LizinPA that the tours will probably go next year especially since other tour companies are already operating now in Europe. And if the tour doesn’t go, as Donald said, we can do it on our own. While we are fortunate to have an international airport practically in our backyard, it is hard to get anywhere from here in Reno or Sacramento so time is of the essence to find a decent flight at a decent price. I also have to factor in the length of the flight, the number of connections and the availability of economy plus seats as our trips take anywhere from 18 to 21 hours at least. And those economy plus seats will be getting sucked up fast in the coming year. Someone else said they waited too long and those comfort seats were unavailable. I am, therefore, taking a chance and have booked our flights for next April/May for our back to back Sicily and Southern Italy tours. I have found open jaw flights with economy plus seats and the shortest amount of time in the air possible to Sicily from Reno and Naples to Reno for our return at a price I can live with. There are also no change fees per AA. I will get some extra insurance for the flights. I have had change alerts put on my flights but will keep checking them regardless. I am hoping for the best for next year’s travel for all of us.

Posted by
45 posts

I’m a little late to respond to this forum…but here is my $.02. Currently I am checking flights in and out of Milan weekly, trying to follow the sage advice from the RS literature. My husband wants to wait until later in the year and see what Covid/travel changes occur. I am anxious to book something and be done but I have followed my husband’s advice for over 40 years, why stop now.

Posted by
6 posts

Current tours are a back to back tour with Portugal first followed by Turkey. We are planning on spending all of April in Europe between the two tours. I fly business class and use a local consolidator for a bit better price than through the airline and have purchased my tickets.

Posted by
306 posts

I booked my flight to Brussels 3 weeks ago on United. The flight back from Amsterdam to IAH was filling up in Premium Economy. I was afraid to wait. I didn’t want to have to sit in regular economy. The prices wer pretty good. My tickets were cheaper than my trip to Ireland/Scotland/London in 2019. My tour is “Best of Holland and Belgium” which starts on March 30th. I am flying out on March 22 and will spend some extra time in Brussels, Bastogne and Luxembourg before heading to Ghent. I had narrowed my choices down to United Airlines and British Air. The fares were much better with United. My countdown app. on my phone shows 142 days! Woo Hoo!

Posted by
2 posts

What apps do you guys use to monitor flight prices? We are doing the RS Turkey tour in September 2022 and our travel agent has flights for us to consider. Gamble on them going lower or just book? 😜

Posted by
1957 posts

I have already booked tickets for two trips, France in May and Ireland the end of June. All refundable, economy plus for less than we spent on our two cancelled (and totally refunded) trips planned for 2020. There really wasn’t that much difference in price between refundable and not. I wasn’t feeling lucky😉!

Posted by
53 posts

I am on the Best of England tour next September. I've been monitoring the prices on Westjet (my cancelled tour for 2020 left me with a rather large travel bank). Last week my flight out from the west coast travelling business class went from $2000 to $4000 in 1 day. I changed my departure city and was able to book a 1 way outbound flight for $2000. Yesterday I booked the return flight from Gatwick for a similar price. I had no choice but to use my travel bank from Westjet.
Who knows what will happen to flight prices? Just glad I'm locked and loaded, ready to go. No more searching for lower prices. Now I can just sit back, relax and plan for a great holiday.

Posted by
929 posts

Not only have I bought airline tickets for a self-planned trip in May, 2022, I bought my ticket to Paris for September, 2022. I had some credit with Delta due to changing my Munich tickets to Iceland and was able to get (according to me) a good price on Premium Select seats. Then I used miles plus cash to get a Delta One seat to Paris and a Premium Select seat on the way back.

I sleep better at night and am in a better mood on a long work day when I have plane tickets in my virtual wallet! And unless something worse than 2020 happens I am going to travel so am willing to take the risk on changeable (not refundable) tickets.

Posted by
12841 posts

I wouldn't worry too much about the RS tours going forward.

I have a trip on Wednesday and I purchased the tickets about 4 weeks ago; $650 Houston to Budapest + about $90 in seat charges and that's with two checked bags (if I had them --- this is a carryon trip).

I watched the prices for several months before and have glanced a few times since and there really hasn't been much difference.

Most of the google articles say 5 to 6 months in advance for the best prices but what I didnt find was the swing over the time period; certain someone publishes it.

If the swing is $20 or even $50 I would rather invest that in peace of mind and wait.