I'm planning a late May trip to France with 2 friends, & found a great, cheap flight on this site. Any experience with it, good or bad?
I would just mention the usual things: 1) If you purchase your ticket from a third party (as opposed to purchasing directly from the airline), it can be difficult or impossible to make any changes to your itinerary. 2) Keep an eye on the number of layovers you are given, and how long the total flight lasts. Some consolidator websites will make you change planes twice each way, or sit in airports for many hours. Some itineraries even have you staying overnight or changing airports for connections. 3) Watch for itineraries that involve multiple segments on airlines not affiliated with each other.
I don't have any direct experience with this company, but looking at their website I see a few red flags. - I can't find a physical address. Hard to check BBB on them and if you should end up in a dispute, it may be hard (not impossible) to seek relief. - Typos in the terms and conditions speak to professionalism of the firm. - I can't find any reviews of this company anywhere on the internets. On another travel forum there is a frequent contributor who is a travel agent. He can almost always find a comparable fare to that which consolidators are offering. At best you will save $75 or $100. Is it worth saving this considering the risks? What is the price being quoted, dates and cities? Does the price include all taxes and fees? I bet the flight gurus here can come close. Looks like flights BOS-CDG are running in the $900s right now. Mightbstill come down, but who knows for sure?
Thanks for the tips. Although the site does not give me exact times of departure & arrival of the flight I'm looking at ($803), it gives it generally ("early evening", "late afternoon", etc.), and does tell me that the flight over is non-stop, with one stop on the way back. On more expensive flights, it does give all the info. My recollection is that this includes taxes, etc., but I'm not 100% sure of this, without checking it again. Is this an airline/flight "consolidator"? Are there any reputable ones?
I don't know that there is any degree of savings that would convince me to purchase an airfare "blind". There are so many things that could go wrong with such an arrangement. I spend too much on my trips to be comfortable leaving the details unknown until I pay. I want to know exactly what I'm buying before I make my decision. I'd pass this site up, sign on with some fare notifications, watch the prices for awhile, and pounce on a good (legit) deal when you find one.
Icelandair is showing flights in the high $800s now.
Since I am quite a "newbie" at this traveling overseas thing, what would a "good" flight price be, BOS to CDG? Does anyone know what the lowest prices have been in 2010? Also, I was under the impression that unless one bought the most expensive tickets, you couldn't make any changes to your flight plans. One other question (but not related to flying): I'll be renting a car (and driving; I'm the only one who drives, but one of my friends is paying for the rental) the 3 of us from Bordeaux (railroad station) to Lourdes to Agen to Rocamadour to Limoges, and back to CDG (via Chartres). "No excess" - is that a term I should like, or not like, when renting a car, and what are the essentials of renting? I know I'll need to check with Bank of America to see what my credit card will cover, but I want to make sure I'm covered but not taken advantage of.
BTW, many thanks for all of your help.
"Also, I was under the impression that unless one bought the most expensive tickets, you couldn't make any changes to your flight plans." You will be able to make changes but you will pay a change fee (varies by airline, $100 - $200) plus any difference in fare price between the original fare and the new fare. Even with paying the above fees, you might be better with a cheaper ticket than buying a flexible ticket. Is there a reason to think you will book and then need to change?
No, as far as I know, there's no reason our plans would change. One will be flying from Tokyo, and the other from Pennsylvania; we've been email communicating, and since I like to do research and plan things, they've been more than happy to let me play travel agent (except for their flights). We've been working on the dates, and May 19-30 have been approved by all of us, so unless something drastic happens to one of us (illness, death in the family), we're all set.
Regarding your car rental, there are several reputable companies that can help. One is AutoEurope: www.autoeurope.com. They are a broker for the various car rental companies, and offer fairly competitive rates. You can call AutoEurope 24 hours a day (before, during, and after your trip), and they will patiently spend whatever time you need to understand your options.
"Excess" is British English for "deductible".
"No, as far as I know, there's no reason our plans would change." In that case, don't worry about buying flex tickets. You might however invest in travel insurance. For your dates, Aer Lingus and Iceland Air have tickets for $920. You are traveling at a time I travel every year. It is around May 25 that prices start to go up towards summer levels. For instance, if you were traveling the same days but two weeks earlier, flights are running $100 less. Who knows if they will go down further? I say give it another month, but start watching some benchmark flights and if they go up, time to book. Reevaluate in a month. Or if $920 sounds good and you don't want to risk prices going up, book it Danno. If you go Aer Lingus you will get the added benefit of flying into one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you take my advice and wait and prices skyrocket, please don't come back here at yell at me.
Can I growl a little??? A stop over in Ireland; gee, I could take photos out of the terminal windows! But at least I wouldn't have to spend months learning a new language. Initially, we were planning on going in early May, but one of my friends couldn't get away until mind-month, and the 19th was the earliest she'd agree to. Any reputable (did I spell that right?) airline consolidators? At first, I was going to get my ticket using my built up credit card points, but the flights they offer seem to be a bit more expensive than every place else, so I was thinking about cashing some in to use elsewhere. The less I spend on airfare, the more I'll have for trinkets and eats (although I must admit some - most - of the French food I've read about doesn't do anything for me; I'm a food wimp. I think I may go partial vegetarian while I'm there). And I haven't even mentioned the confused state of mind I'm about getting train tickets from Montparaness to Bordeaux, but at least I'll finally get something ( a price break, I hope) for being 60! Carol Ann
1800flyeurope Mentioned in Frommers. Yay or nay? Found an $808 flight, with times, and it's on American Airlines.
For $45 more I can get flight/travel insurance through them.
The way to know what a "good" airfare is, as I said before, is to start watching the prices for awhile until you get a feel for where the prices are running. You can do this by checking for yourself at various sites, or by signing on to airfare notifications that will alert you to sales or special deals. The fares won't vary a great deal most of the time, so when you see a price that is much lower you will be able to recognize it as a good deal. As for travel insurance, what the above poster was referring to wasn't flight insurance (that pays out if the plane crashes), it was travel insurance that you purchase to cover any out of pocket costs you might lose if you have to cancel your trip for some reason. If you visit www.insuremytrip.com you can compare lots of travel insurance policies and choose one that covers what you need it to. I would highly recommend health insurance if yours doesn't cover you overseas, as well as med evac insurance in case you are injured and need to be brought back to the US for treatment or recovery. You can most likely find a policy that does much more than a flight policy alone, for the same price that 1800flyeurope is charging.
Well, from what I've seen, thumbing through various sites, is that $808 IS a good deal )as long as the consolidator is reputable). I guess I've never been one for "waiting", which is sometimes good...and sometimes messes me up royally!
Thanks; I found it to be an excellent comparison site. Although the $45 "Trip Protector Lite" from Travel Insured seems to be a good deal, for $77 (same company) I'd get rental collision coverage (I will be renting a car), more medical coverage for emergency accident & sickness, ID Theft assistance (not available in the lowest two $ tiers), missed connection/itinerary change coverage (n/a in the $45 policy), more baggage & personal effects...and, for 50% more (making it $115 for the coverage), a "cancel for any reason" coverage, which would return 75% of trip cost (which is unavailable under the cheapest coverage). I guess it's a weigh-this-against-that thing. Is having the renters collision insurance a good idea, if I get a rental with a $0 deductible, or is that just redundant? "Cancel for Any reason" insurance: sounds good; available only on the $77 or $59 plans (on both, I'd need to pay 50% more). If it were you - or your wife, daughter, female friend, etc. - taking this trip, what would your thoughts be? Especially since the tickets - the same price, whether I book online with 800flyeurope or call them in person, so they'll be responsible for any goof-ups - are only $808.
Looks pretty good. I would feel comfortable buying with these folks. The travel insurance looks comprehensive covering medical emergencies, lots bags, trip cancellation, etc.
Just for fun I did a price comparison this morning. I priced a round-trip Chicago > Paris, using dates June 8 - June 22. EXPEDIA lowest price: $1,112.40 FLYTHERE4LESS lowest price: $1,196.78 This reflects my experience, which is that the lesser known consolidators rarely beat the well-known ones such as Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz. Just sayin'.
And, using the same dates as Tom, kayak.com shows Aer Lingus at $875 for some reason and a whole bunch of Aer Lingus and Swiss/SAS at about $1050 (the times of the flights and duration appeared to be about the same). I didn't check Swiss/SAS, but for Aer Lingus, you book through them so there's no middleman with the drawkbacks previously mentioned. I'd move on. For what's it's worth, kayak always seems to work best for me (at least for cars and flights - - I've never tried them for anything else).
Ed - I think you forgot to include the taxes. I just did kayak.com using my same parameters. Their best price is $1,042.99 on Aer Lingus. Base price of the ticket is $839.96 with taxes of $203.03.
Nope. What I did was blow it out my ear. I'd left in a return date from another project with a November return. Doing it correctly, I get $1043 as well. I'd change my post, but then I'd be accused of being another iteration of HeWhoFormerlyPosted. The stupidity stands.
re: flight vs travel insurance.
It's the Travel Insurance I need. Right now I'm in the process of getting individual health insurance coverage here in Maine (my COBRA more than doubles in Jan., then expires completely in March), which is next to impossible without donating a gallon of blood, and an arm or a leg, every month (after 4 months I'll be all out of limbs!). One of the "optional" coverages has travel insurance (along with a few other things, inc. life insurance, which will only pay my DH the equivalent of a value meal at Mickey D's, because I'm 60) that costs $99 a month; I decided to pass on that part of it, esp. if I can get the travel insurance I'll need for a one-time cost of $45. Since I'm unemployed right now (too many teachers, not enough kids, and at this stage of the game I'm a bit long in the tooth to teach new tricks to) I don't foresee being able to afford any other trips in 2011. I suppose I should do a little research on the company offering the travel insurance: Auto Europe ("administered by Travel Insured") to make sure they're OK (although DH tells me that, as a car rental company, the reviews he's read have been running about 50-50).
Carol Ann: try insuremytrip.com
Thoughts on your thoughts (in order): rental collision coverage: it's redundant from your zero deductible, but you were going to check on what you get from your credit card also more medical coverage: you have to decide based on your history and concerns - - we can't (nor should we) guess ID Theft assistance: not sure what that would be, but I've had my cc skimmed and all I had to do was call the cc company, fill out a short form, and the issue went away - - not so sure I'd pay for that, it seems like boiler plate more baggage & personal effects: more than what? what's your stuff worth? I generally go for a month at a time and generally with only a carry-on which isn't getting away from me. If I do check a bag, there's not more than a couple hundred bucks of clothes in it which is not worth ensuring. Plus in a gazillion trips, I've never lost anything permanently. missed connection/itinerary: if you're booked through on one airline/partner, if you miss a connection and it's their fault, they'll take care of it at no charge - - if it's your fault, well............ cancel for any reason: why would you cancel? - - and if you do, what's the cost? Hotel and car reservations can generally be canceled witout penalty, airlines can be switched with a penalty that won't bust the bank I, for my own reasons, have never bought any kind of travel insurance. Nor, as far as I know, has my wife, either before we were married or for her trips with the gals since we've been married. Back in the days when I paid for my daughetes to travel, they went without insurance and I would assume they still do.
Insurance buys peace of mind. You seem to be a worry wart. If a couple of hundred extra bucks (I think that's what I understand) will help you relax and enjoy yourself, it will be money well spent. Toss the money in the bucket and get on with planning the fun part of the expedition.
I guess the older I get the more aware I become, or afraid of, what might (or could) happen. Two days after I turned down the short term disability at a job I was diagnosed with leukemia (that was 13 years ago; my onc-doc proclaimed me "cured" in Sept., 2001 (on the 11th, actually...). Plus, I used to be a Girl Scout ("Be prepared", etc.). Anyway, I booked my flight, and will go over the travel insurance thing with my husband; I've never had travel insurance before, so maybe the low cost coverage is a good deal, after all. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to pack light, and get all my stuff into a carry-on. I'll need to go to American Airlines' site to see if I get to bring a tote, too. Merci beaucoup for all the info & help. Gee....only 5 months to go... :>
I agree with much of what Ed said, but I always have med evac insurance. My own health insurance covers me overseas, so I don't supplement that, but emergency evacuations or, say, special seating to accomodate a newly acquired cast can be extremely pricey. If you have zero deductible on your rental car, that's the best you can do, so nothing more is needed. Depending on how much you have in potential out-of-pocket losses, cancellation for any reason might be a good one to have. Many policies will cover some reasons for cancellation, but an "any reason" policy covers those things that just don't fall under common reasons - business reasons, a family wedding that was scheduled after you book your trip, a travel partner bailing out on you, etc. You need to do the math and see what you stand to lose in unrefundables before you decide whether it's worth the expense. Perhaps the peace of mind alone can make it worth it.