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Waffling on plane ticket

I need some help making up my mind! I am planning to fly on United from Washington Dulles to Amsterdam in February, with little flexibility in my dates. The flight I have been watching has held steady at $646 round-trip for the past two months. Only about 10% of the seats have sold, and I keep waiting for United to drop the fare to entice more purchases. It’s now about 7 weeks out from my preferred dates. Should I just bite the bullet and purchase the ticket now?

In the past, I have found sale fares of under $450 in the off-season, specifically March and December, and those prices keep me hoping for a better fare. But perhaps time is running out and I should just stop waiting and buy. I welcome the wisdom of the RS crowd!

Posted by
6017 posts

You are only maybe 6 weeks or so from departure, just bite the bullet and buy, Do not look at the seating chart and think that lots of tickets are still available, there are many seats not assigned for tickets sold until the week of departure, the chart is just allowing you to pick a seat, not that they are all empty/unsold. Chances are prices will go up to capitalize on last minute buyers.

Once you buy, do not look or check, make your move and stick with it. You then relax and focus on other aspects of your trip. The stress is not worth a potential $100 or $200 that likely will not materialize.

Posted by
1678 posts

If you truly have little flexibility in dates, then it's down to how much of a gambler you are. If it were me, the cost of waiting (not getting a ticket, or potentially spending a lot more) to save maybe $150 or $200 is not worth it. But I live on the west coast and getting a $646 round trip ticket to Amsterdam would be a miracle (the going "low" rate is is $900 for direct flight).

Posted by
2491 posts

Exactly when are you going, and can you fly from Philadelphia? I just did a sample search o Google Flights, you ca get Phlly Amsterdam for mid-$300s, using Tuesdays as your travel day. I also saw flights for lower $500s for DC-AMS on Tuesdays.

It is extremely unlikely any of these will go any lower at this point in time.

Posted by
949 posts

Just a personal note but this is one of the reasons I use an agent. She's been in the biz for decades, knows how everything works, knows all the tricks, and gets me the best fares available. They may not be as low as consumers can find by mining the discount sites but my flights are booked way in advance and I enjoy the certainty that if anything changes she'll fix it or if anything goes wrong on the trip, I can call her company's reps and they'll work out the best solutions.

Posted by
1240 posts

I'm with the general consensus though a cheaper flight is likely to be had with Aer Lingus, but this involves a change in Dublin.

Posted by
809 posts

Thanks to all who weighed in and convinced me to buy. Done! I feel better now and will quickly unsubscribe from all my airfare notifications for this trip.

Posted by
4718 posts

I do what Bogiesan does only I got straight to the airline direct, bypassing any commission, usually get the best rates available and full protection. Travel agents have become obsolete since the internet, there is nothing they can do that any of us can't. There aren't any 'insider' secrets or techniques, no-one can forsee change fares or when airline sales are released. I tend to book a year out and never check prices again however these tickets are usually in the sales and good deals can be found.

Posted by
7702 posts

I think you did right to go ahead and purchase your tickets. Especially since your dates aren’t flexible. Well done! Now you don’t have to think about it any more and can enjoy the rest of your planning.

Posted by
6472 posts

Bravo. You booked.

That part of the trip is done.

Now you can focus on your packing list, wish list and taking care of things here before you Feb departure.

Have a great trip!!!

Posted by
720 posts

You don't mention how long you are staying, but as tight as I am, I try to think in terms of % of trip cost, not $. And I have screwed up enough to also think - What would I pay now for what I want? after I screwed up, of course?

Have fun!

Posted by
327 posts

RE POST ABOVE: Travel agents have become obsolete since the internet, there is nothing they can do that any of us can't.

Not trying to start a debate or digress from the original post, however, the above statement is not exactly true.
They can and they DO have ways to do things with airline tickets (and other arrangements) that are not available to consumers. I do some of my own air bookings directly with airlines for simple trips but there have been a few trips (in recent years) where my faithful experienced travel agent has saved the day. Just sayin'....

Posted by
809 posts

NickB, you make some good points. This trip is only for a week and I will be staying with my daughter and son-in-law, so airfare is quite a large fraction of the trip cost. On the other hand, I will certainly be taking them out for some excellent meals at restaurants they can’t afford on their own; a couple of those meals will probably balance out any possible savings I might gain. And of course the danger is that the fare would go up while I was waiting for it to go down, and then I’d really kick myself!

Posted by
3347 posts

Very happy to learn that you didn’t waffle too much longer on airfare. Unless you have a crystal ball, if you see an airfare that works for you, take it especially if the trip is coming up soon!

Posted by
3465 posts

Kathleen, sounds like you made an informed decision. Timing is everything. Most of our flights out of SeaTac are about twice that round trip. Enjoy wonderful Amsterdam!