Hello fellow travelers. My husband and I are joining the Rick Steves tour in Italy, in October. We have been looking at airfares and wonder if we should consider purchasing sooner rather than later? We are about six months out from the trip. Thank you!
Its tricky. No one can predict what airline prices will do (a bit like the stock market). Generally about 120 days out from your travel date is supposed to be the best time to buy as its when the Airlines put their tickets on sale.
Good luck and hope you find a good deal!
I just purchased our airline tickets for our October trip. We are flying Air Canada and all this past week their fares dropped from $1,500.00 to $1,256.00 for open jaw LAX-Rome and home Paris-LAX. In looking at the seating maps the flights looked like their were filling up on the Canada to Europe legs of the trip and we want to sit together, so if the price goes down again at least I paid for what I want (Schedule, longer layovers and seat choice). Having an overnight flight is important for me also, so we can sleep and hit the ground running. I know on the Air Canada website I was able to choose a the flight without a purchase and then see what remainign seats looked like, you may be able to do this on other airlines also? I booked using my Chase Rewards and cash and I was also afraid that my "perfect" flights would go away (I have looked at different times and sometimes they were there and sometimes they were not). I just looked at the Air Canada website (I know I am not supposed to look after I book) and the cheapest fare today (has gone up since I booked) says "5 seats left at this price"..gimmick? I dont know.
I booked our Italy to Paris airfare about 6 weeks ago and got a great deal on Air France, they are $130.00 more each now! Maybe they will go down again..who knows?
Have fun on your tour!! So excited for our trip, having my plane tickets is making this very very real.
We bought flights to Rome last January for May. I thought we were paying a lot, because we have been doing this for years and this is truly the highest prices we have ever ever paid. I looked at every airline that flew from San Francisco to Rome. But I have peeked since then and they are even higher now. Just remember that if you can afford a few dollars more, don't go for these lower fares that take you all over the world to get to your destination. You have to look at it in the big picture of the whole trip. It is not worth a trip that is so exhausting just to get there and back for $100.00 cheaper. I know $100.00 is a lot to some for their vacation but it you never get there or late to your destination is it worth it.
Emirates has direct flights from JFK to Milan for under $1000 in October (the dates I checked it was $996). I don't know if they partner with anyone to get you there from Denver on one ticket! but it is worth a look.
I have gone to Europe each year for 12 of the last 13 years and have taken a RS tour each year. I almost always book my Seattle to Europe non-stop flights six month ahead of time. We do have some flexibility since we spend time in Europe either before the tour, after the tour, or both. We realize that we could get a somewhat cheaper flight by taking one that stops a time or two on the way to Europe but we prefer the non-stop flight which this year cost $150 more and it was worth it for us. The only time we took a flight that stopped on the way to Europe (Texas - Delta) was when we were flying on miles and I would do that again when I get enough miles to fly that way. Since we fly several different airlines out of Seattle (several dropped out of Seattle) we have been accumulating miles on a bank cc. I have read several articles recently that all mentioned buying tickets to Europe at the 6 month point.
I had the opportunity to fly direct with Air Alitalia from LAX for a bit cheaper, but I have a very good friend tell me her recent bad experiance flying with them, then read so many bad reviews....I decided we did not want to start our trip out on the wrong foot. We are doing one connection in Canada, I was really hoping for a connection in Europe but nothing was lining up for me.
Now to search for a carry on that meets Air Canada's carry on standards....
I'd say for peace of of mind, get them in the next 30 days. Some one might blink and run a sale for a while. SAS does that occasionally. Also, going to Italy, don't get married to the RS "Always fly open jaw" mantra. Milan is the cheapest entry point into Italy these days, and with the rail system, nothing is more than 3 hours away from Milan. Look at a RT with rail connections.
If you are changing planes in Toronto, you might want to look at the website for Pearson International http://torontopearson.com/#
Although not as much of a sprawl as LAX, it can still take some navigating, so check it out. Montreal and Vancouver aren't as large but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.
On the return trip home, you will be pre-cleared in Canada by US border security. Again, it is not a maze but takes a little extra time. The one trick in Toronto (and I assume the other international gateways mentioned) is to pick the right line-up for inspection. At Pearson there are three lines -- one for Canadians coming home, mostly an automated process now; one for Americans and other foreigners entering Canada; and one to meet the US officials. There are signs, and often ushers, so just keep an eye out. I like travelling with Air Canada, nicer service than a few decades ago.
south-Thanks for the tips!
I too am joining the "My Way" tour in Oct. After looking at fares for 6 months, and noticing that they were not going down, I purchased my ticket last months - they have still not gone down. My turning point was the flights I chose had better layovers than the previous ones listed. (I have to have a 2-3 hr layover) I still check occasionally, and they are holding steady at "Too Much" - Good Luck!
Nothing wrong with Alitalia. Certainly no worse than most American carriers who do not exactly enjoy universal acclaim.
Like others have said, there is no telling when you should buy. I usually buy 4-6 months ahead. I'm going to Italy in late September through early October and I bought last month. Prices had not been changing, and then one night the price was $175 lower so I bought. The key is not to continue checking after you buy!
FYI, A search on matrix.itasoftware.com shows flights from DEN with a single connection at JFK to MXP is $889 on Tue & Wed for a 2 week stay beginning Oct 13, on Delta.
We are going on Rick's Village Italy tour in October and just booked tickets from Denver to Venice, return from Milan to Denver for $1,162, allowing a few days before the trip in Venice and after in Milan. Airfare may be a bit cheaper later, but it helps my comfort factor to get things lined up early.
We have been flying out of Denver for the past 20 years. That fare is about as good as it gets. Our bench mark is 1200, 1250 and seldom under that.
We are going for 3weeks in October and have been watching prices for about 5weeks . . . initially they were $1400 from Asheville, NC to Venice . . . and then Florence back home to Asheville. I checked today and the are $1600!!! That's MUCH MORE than we've EVER paid to go to Europe. This is Delta, which is cheaper than USAir. I also have AAA checking for us.
Initially, we were going to fly back home from Rome, but it was only $50 more to go out of Florence which is where we really want to leave from.