Are flight prices all over the map?

Hi Seasoned Travellers, I'm really getting confused about the prices of tickets, and could use some advice.(I don't remember going thru this last time I went away) 3 Days ago the flights I was looking at for Toronto to Amsterdam via Iceland(june 10-July 3) were KLM $1349 and Icelandair $899. Yesterday, the Icelandair flight was down to $799. This afternoon it was down to $730. Tonight when I was sitting down with credit card in hand, IcelandAir had gone up to about $900 again, while the KLM was down to $950.
Am I doing something wrong? Are the "airline spies" tracking me? Do I have to keep looking and hoping or do I bite the bullet and pay the full whack? Thanks, Sylvia

Posted by Stacey
Kansas City
112 posts

Prices for flights do bounce around a lot. I have been checking several times a day for the last week or so, and they seem to be a different price each time I look. They are usually within $150 or so, but there has been a lot of fluctuation recently. I guess that is normal. I wish prices had been going down for me. On Monday the flight I looked at through Iceland (Kansas City to London) was $1017. Today it is $1231. It has only been going up. There is no sure way to know what prices are going to do. I'm sure as soon as I buy, prices will drop, and I'm making myself crazy trying to figure out the best time. I'm just going to pay what I have to so I can take the vacation I want. I don't want to miss out on experience over a couple of hundred dollars. I'd say if you see it low again, go for it.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2261 posts

I got an email blast the other day that SAS was running a sale, and other air lines have to scramble to make their own fares competative on the same routes. As soon as the sale ends, they jack them back up again.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

The only positive sign (I think) is that when you check on Icelandair to see which seats are available, the plane is 3/4 empty. I am THinking (hoping) that they will be offering lower rates again. I just don't want to drive myself (my family and my business partner) nuts if I keep checking flight prices 17 times a day!

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

This is normal, and it proves that you must buy your ticket immediately when you see a fare that is right for you. My advice is always the same...watch fares for a bit using your favorite sites (kayak, orbitz, airline site, or whatever). Get an idea of the going rate for the time and place you would like to travel. Set an acceptable fare in your head. Track rates every day until you see a good one. Then, buy it without delay...that fare could be gone in 2 hours. Of course, there are conditions that impact fares the same way every year (i.e. fares are higher in summer than in winter, huge trade show every year in a given city, spring break is higher, Christmas is higher, etc., etc.), but there are so many factors impacting prices that's it's virtually impossible to predict what is going to happen in the future. A year or two back, there was a glitch on Delta's site (think it was Delta anyway), and they had RT fares all over Europe for about $350 total (including all fees and taxes) in May...I wasn't prepared and by the time I decided to do it 2 hours later, the glitch was fixed and fares were back to normal. I believe they ended up honoring those prices...don't believe they were required to but did as I recall. You have to act fast. Icelandair is almost always $100 cheaper than anyone else all the time...you can bank on this...sometimes it's closer to $200. Aer Lingus is often in line with Icelandair as a cheaper alternative. Not sure Aer Lingus flies from Toronto w/o a code share through Chicago first...that extra leg would probably make them too high. My guess is that Icelandair will be your best bet. Plus, you wanted to go to Iceland, right?

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10861 posts

You cannot rely on the seat charts to show the number of tickets sold. It is most likely that more tickets have been solded but seats not assigned. I don't know Icelandair's seat assignment policy. On British Air for example, you pay extra for an advanced seat assignment which means that the seat chart shows lots of empty seats but there are many sold tickets waiting to grab those seats when the free seat assignment opens up.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

Hi Michael, Yes, I definitely do want to go to Iceland. I know you are right about fares and I think I should have known to expect that kind of pricing, but it's been a while. I started feeling like the "internet spies" knew where I wanted to go after my checking a few fares over a few days and decided they had a "Hot One" so bumped the fares. In the grand scheme of things, my trip to Iceland is going to be an amazing bonus and a once in a lifetime, so maybe I should stop browsing and start buying!
Thanks Michael!

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

I just flew with them in September (Icelandair)...purchased tickets last February & selected seats at booking...no additional charge and they never changed. Hope that helps.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

Understand that airlines have big rooms filled with people in cubicles analyzing the supply and demand of flights. And the combinations "from and to" are immense. They change prices daily to maximize passenger load and ultimately profitability. When flights are not selling out, the prices will drop.
When profitability drops, they may go as far as canceling flights or even stopping flying from a city. Airlines are now quick to adjust supply. I watch closely on the internet for pricing trends. If a price suddenly drops, I'll grab it. I'm usually looking 60 days before leaving. Airfares for 2013 are expected to go up dramatically for the high traffic Summer around May 20th and go back down the middle of September. If there are any dips in pricing, it's just expected to be for a short time before they kick the prices back to a "normal range." Great bargains are not expected for 2013, and the travelers will just have to accept it. The prices you've mentioned are very low; at least until they went up. But if you want to play, ultimately you've got to pay. Just keep watching for reduced fares.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

Thanks guys, I guess I will "surf" over the weekend with my Credit Card in hand an see what happens.
Sylvia

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
892 posts

Last year a non-stop round trip ticket to Heathrow surfaced for $600 (including taxes). We bought it immediately. One hour later the low price was gone. You have to act right away to get these deals.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

Hi Posters, I just wantd to let you know that for me checking the cost of flights every few hours was driving me nuts. I saw a flight from Toronto to Amsterdam with a 3 day stopover in Iceland for $895 and I went for it!
Thanks for your advice about flights and especially about your enthusiam for Iceland.