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[updated] June $1,300 flights Charlotte to London, rtn Italy. Book or WAIT?

June $1,300 flights Charlotte -> London, Italy -> home. Book or WAIT? I'm experiencing airline sticker shock for out England/Italy trip this summer in June. Travel sites are reporting flights around $1,300 to $1,400. For my family of four that's almost six grand! Should I wait until Feb/March/April or book now? I know that no one has a crystal ball, but do airlines drop their prices (GENERALLY) between now and summer or is this the best it's gonna get? :) ### January 24th ###
We booked today for $1230 p.p. from Charlotte->London, Rome->Charlotte. Two weeks ago the price dipped one day to $1190 and I missed it. I'm not going to cry over $40x4=$160. I can now move on with my life :) Pete Charlotte, NC June 2012: England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy

Posted by
107 posts

I'm sorry I can't help because I don't know if the flights will come down. I can tell you that for us (family of four) Austin to London on June 30 returning Rome to Austin July 23 was $1500 each.

Posted by
1525 posts

I don't know what it's like to fly out of Charlotte or nearby, but if we were trying to do the same from Minneapolis, I would consider $1200 an "average" fare for 2012. Of course, I have no idea where fares will go from where they are at now. It's all a gamble. However, I suspect that the options out of Charlotte are much more limited than the options out of, say, New York City. And I'll bet there is a cheap way to get to NYC, so perhaps you could cobble something together. For example; Aer Lingus is a good airline with excellent connections to various cities in Europe, through Dublin or Shannon, Ireland. Their prices are usually lower than average and they are great for open-jaw options. I did a random search for you; NYC JFK to London (via Shannon) on Monday, June 11th
Rome to JFK (via Dublin) on Monday, July 2nd (three weeks later) The result was $900/pp, then add whatever it costs to get to NYC Always good to consider other options...

Posted by
54 posts

Two of us are flying from Honolulu to London in May 2012, then returning from Rome. We bought the tickets using the Hipmunk site in October 2011, which was the earliest we could after firming up the travel dates, for $1640 each. I checked today on Hipmunk and the exact same flights are $1295. Of course, we wish that we had waited. A few months ago I would have said that, in general, airline ticket prices rise as the travel date approaches. And maybe that is true- in general. We can all think of a number of other things that can influence prices; competition, oil prices, economic conditions, etc. On the other hand, the best choices in flights and seats are likely to be those made some time in advance. So, to an extent it seems to be a crap shoot. We're very happy with the flights and seats, not so happy with the price- but regardless will have a great time in Europe.
I'm sure you will too!

Posted by
2106 posts

Personally, that price sounds about right considering your departure airport and destinations. As prior posters said, it's impossible to say when or if fares will drop. You're traveling in June, that's peak summer time and rarely do fares drop for that period. Also, the Olympics, though not until July, are affecting London prices generally. The suggestion to see if you can find a cheaper flight from a bigger airport (JFK, Atlanta) might be a better bet. Also, if you're flying from London to Italy, there are discount airlines that will save you money over using a conventional airline, but you'll have to book those separately. Sign up for flight price tracking on Kayak (though you'll only be able to do it for round trips, not your open jaw route). I am flying in May/June 2012 (from Portland-Prague, Munich-Portland) on a frequent flier ticket purchased in October 2011. I've been tracking the prices just for curiosity sake - the price in October was $1200. The lowest it's been (for one day in November) was $950. It's back to $1200 as of today.

Posted by
22983 posts

Prices fall only when there are extra seats to sell as they approach departure day. The common drum beat in the media today is that the airlines have consolidated, have reduced the number of seats available, don't have the excess capacity to sell later, and are holding on to higher prices longer to make themselves profitable (not more profitable) and ticket fares, in general, are up substantially. If you believe that, then buy now as they mostly likely will not fall significantly. If you don't wait. What is working against you? A lot of things. The economy is improving in many sectors, records crowds hit Orlando over the holidays which suggests a lot of postponed travel plans, traveling in June is peak travel time especially for Europe. If you delay, you choices of connections and seats diminish with the four of you sitting in middle seats through out the plane. Finally what is an acceptable price for you? 1200 ? 1100? The probability of sub $1000 is pretty low. Pick a price and live with it.

Posted by
1264 posts

Peter - You are asking the age old question of "When to Buy". There are also those that say wait until 3 months before your flight. I'm not one of those. I normally have a genral fare in mind and if I find that fare I buy my ticket. As a side note; I found a fare of $1,190 from CLT-LGW returning FCO-CLT on US Airways.

Posted by
12154 posts

I usually watch fares for awhile, it's not until June so you have time. When I'm satisfied what a decent fare (maybe not rock bottom) should be, I start watching for itinerary. A direct flight, for me, is worth more - as are arriving in Europe early morning (adds another day of vacationing) and leaving Europe early afternoon (plenty of time to pack, check out, eat a meal, and get to the airport ). I buy before the good itineraries are sold out. There are fare sales but usually not for high season. I read recently that airline fuel is at an all-time high, even though oil isn't. I doubt fares will go down significantly unless fuel prices drop. Your sticker shock is one reason I like to vacation in shoulder season - save on flights, save on hotels, avoid the crowds - even if I have to pull kids from school to do it (note: we haven't seen the "take kids out of school" post in awhile).

Posted by
527 posts

According to travel guru, Tom Parsons;, you should wait. He said he expected to see a drop in prices for Europe summer travel. That said, I've already purchased out tickets.

Posted by
3573 posts

"Britain prepares for tourist onslaught in 2012; Rick Steves says that although most of the Olympics action will take place in London this year, the rest of Britain is preparing for an onslaught of tourists." Thus begins an article this week in the Seattle Times. For the rest of the article, go to: From the same article, "This year marks the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, commemorating 60 years of Elizabeth II's reign. Museums will host special exhibits, and various events and pageantry will take place the first week of June." If you believe this article, it seems to be shaping up as a huge year for tourism in Britain, so I would not expect there to be many unfilled seats on planes at the last minute (or month or two) before your trip. $1200 to $1300 is reasonable for leaving Charlotte on a non stop to London and returning from Italy. I'd be tempted to go on and grab that. However, none of us can predict for certain what the airfares will do.

Posted by
31538 posts

I certainly would not want to speak against the illustrious Seattle Times, but I have seen stories here in England in the last week (BBC and ITV and Metro and Telegraph) saying that normal tourism to the UK and London in particular will be way down as people are scared of Olympic crowds. We shall see.

Posted by
167 posts

I got nervous and booked for $1230. It's a price I can live with and EXACTLY the flight I wanted. I got tired of checking the websites every single day. :)

Posted by
3239 posts

I don't think that $1230 is so bad for June this year! Congratulations! Now the real planning begins!