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Airfare is crazy

I thought I'd share a true-life example of what airfare does these days. At some point I asked Google travel to keep track of premium econ fares from LAX to Vienna, I got nothing for the longest time and then it woke up last month. Those computers really earn their keep and yes, this is why you should use fare tracking:

8/11 $1617 to $1457
8/18 1457 to 1613
8/19 1613 to 1457
8/23 1457 to 1616
8/25 1616 to 1901
8/31 1901 to 2353

9/1 2353 to 1899
9/3 1899 to 2353
9/4 2353 to 1898
9/5 1898 to 2353

Posted by
1003 posts

I have been tracking some main cabin tickets for a friend flying from New Orleans - Athens (June 2023) - Delta my go-to carrier has not been that competitive, in fact quite pricey. but AA and United have come down a lot. In fact, the price yesterday was very good and what we wanted to pay so we got tickets. Don't usually buy this early, but when you see a price you are comfortable with I say buy.

Posted by
3879 posts

I'm a long-time Delta fan boy, but Delta is pricing itself out of my life... domestic and international.

Posted by
2267 posts

phred - These increasing prices are for a particular date in the future? How far out?

Posted by
531 posts

Exactly why I started tracking prices on Google Flights back in November for this September's flight. Paid about half the current price for premium economy.

Posted by
4862 posts

I've regularly been checking fares since June 28 for my spring trip on United and they've barely budged.

Posted by
887 posts

Phred, although I have not yet reentered the world of international travel and researching and purchasing tickets since the start of the pandemic, prior to March 2020 I always tracked fares for many years via Google, and this pattern is exactly what I found pre pandemic when buying tickets for flights to Europe, crazy day to day moves up and down 6 months or more out from travel dates I was investigating, daily swings of 20 percent or more, back and forth. I only point this out as a way to say it is the "same as it ever was" because many people seem to think this craziness only started in recent years - in my experience, it has been like this for at least the last decade.

Also, several cite how Delta has recently priced itself out of their plans, and I agree with that completely, but it is not just in the recent past I have found this to be true. When it comes to actual dates and the need to pull the trigger on ticket purchases in the past, Delta was and still is consistently the most expensive fare, and as a result I mostly have flown American and occasionally United to Europe, but especially internationally I haven't flown on Delta in at least 10 years, and in a lifetime of flying to Europe mostly on my own dime, Delta has always been the least competitive option for me (and for most of my life I have lived in "Delta country" in the south and southeastern part of the US).

Delta has always been the least competitive price in my experience, to the point now that I seldom even bother with pricing flights on Delta. Back in the day when I flew on someone else's nickel, I flew Delta, but when it came to me using my own money for personal travel, American and United compete for my money on international routes, and domestically I also use Southwest and Jet Blue fairly often, too, but never Delta...

Posted by
887 posts

Maybe you SHOULD check Delta's fares now and again.

Perhaps I exaggerated? Rest assured that I check all available airlines and flights, but I can't remember the last time Delta was competitive on price. I haven't flown on Delta in at least a decade for a reason, so the proof is in the pudding.

As for Southwest, it is not the "discount" carrier it once was, but you fly with 2 bags free and for people like me who check bags, that ofren tips the total price in their favor.

Posted by
4554 posts

I believe this was for a trip in mid-October, just plugged in some random dates.

New update: 9/7 went from 2353 to 1718
9/8 1718 to 2427

The swinging back and forth is odd enough, but note that it doesn't always land in the same place. Sometimes the prices are only off by a few bucks. Again, the all-knowing fare computers are smarter than us.

I suppose one option is to just take a chance and buy, and then seek an adjustment if it goes down. The risk there is that you'll only get an airline credit, or that they will cancel your original ticket and you have to rebook. And apparently there's a law that you have a 24 hour cooling off period after buying a ticket to change your mind.

Posted by
887 posts

However, there is often more than just the cheapest fare that factors in for me.

If my home airport was ATL, I too might find Delta the way to go.

The price difference I see between Delta and AA, particularly on flights to Europe on premium economy, are rather large. First, I don't live in a hub like Atlanta, I live in a smaller market, so I have to rely on flights that connect me to said hubs, and that is where the price disparity is really large with Delta, larger than what I see with American in particular. On premium economy the differential is anywhere from 20 to 40 percent higher, consistently.

At some point for most people who fly on their own dime, I would think, price matters more than FF miles and perks, etc. Cost certainly drives my decisions since I am retired and don't fly enough annually anymore to attain FF status that confers perks even if I only flew with one airline. To each his own...