What's Your Flight Search Method ?

Hey folks, Last year I searched for hours over several days for a flight to Naples. Finally, I was so paralyzed that I used an Agent to get a flight I could have committed to myself, but I got there. She didn't hear that I didn't need business class for anything over the water, but nothing else, so it was business class all the way. This year, I have the chance for an extra trip, staying in a lovely house next to people I know for free. Unfortunately, it's smack in the middle of the summer, and prices are a lot higher. I am hoping to find a place to rent for the first half of 2014, so it's a great opportunity. I'm committed to being the smartest traveller I can this time 'round. Here are my odd parameters: 1. For the longest leg, I need business class. (Not for the ice cream; it's medical) 2. For the shorter flights/trips, I don't care (bumping your head in business class on the small planes feels the same!) 3. I am super flexible as to dates. 4. Naples airport needs to start the journey home (not a train) because transport to the airport is most convenient for my hosts.
5. Language not a barrier for French, Spanish, Italian. If you have a method that works, in terms of matching up different qualities of flight, please let me know so that I can try it. Thanks so much.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4021 posts

I haven't tried this, but you may be able to get what Sarah is asking for by using the "multi city" function of an airline search, then booking the trip as 4 segments: US to Euro gateway in biz, Euro gateway to final destination in economy, Euro city to gateway city in economy, and gateway city to US home in biz. Again, I haven't looked to see if the websites allow this. Another alternative is to research your route as normal, then book by phone directly with the airline. They should be able to do this; last I checked, they charged about $20 for a phone booking (but it was some time ago, so it may have gone up).

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
2199 posts

Hi, Searching for flights for several days is just starting for me. Im going back to Europe this fall and ive been doing searches since i went last march. to me its an ongoing thing. I have my route lined up for now, but im monitoring flight prices and will till i leave just to see how they change and if i want to play the "wait n see" game next time. also what ive liked to do so far was to find a direct "hub" for me and that is Amsterdam. I may have to look for another one the furter away from Amsterdam i go, but for now it serves its purpose. I choose to go to eruope as a direct fligth if at all possible. Yes, i understand that you will have to sometimes make anohter hop to somewhere or make the that hop on the east coast, or Iceland or some other place, but i like to just get over there asap and if my plans chance, im there to do something and can. happy trails.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5877 posts

Why don't you just fly Open Skies BizBed class? This is a subsidiary of British Airways. Fares for RT between Newark (EWR) and Orley are $2870 in both July and August, at least for all dates I checked. Then just book Orly to Naples separately on the carrier of your choice. Edit: in case it is not clear from the name, BizBed class is a flat-bed seat in Business Class. $2800 RT is a good price for high season.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2467 posts

A popular website to research airfares and flight schedules is: http://matrix.itasoftware.com You plug in where you're going and a calendar will pop up showing flight prices. From Columbus to Naples Business Class, they're quoting $3200ish the first 5 days of September, and substantially more the rest of the month. Some of the airlines have something called Economy Plus, which gives you expanded legroom. Would that be a cheaper option for you?
Good luck!

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1816 posts

David, does the ITA matrix allow you to mix-and-match business class and economy for different segments of the trip? That is what she wants to do. You are just pointing to an all-business class fare, which is not what she asked. As far as I know you will have to book segments separately to get the class you want, but maybe someone has a better answer. If ITA matrix is that answer, then someone need to explain how to do it.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1435 posts

If you are flying on a single ticket, it may end up costing the same for business-class-all-the-way as it would for business-class-across-the-ocean-with-coach-legs-on-either-end. Just a guess, but I suspect that your requirement to fly home from Naples might increase your ticket cost substantially. You might compare the prices you're finding with equivalent flights that begin in Rome (plus the cost of train to Rome), and see if your hosts' convenience is worth that much to you.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5877 posts

I will just add that columbus is one of the airports that you can book from on Open skies. they will fly you from Columbus to either JFK or EWR on American or American Eagle, and then you are on Open skies plane with the flatbed seats in Business Class. Cost of this ticket is $3200 rather than the $2860 I found for the longhaul leg alone, but having the first flight on the same ticket is probably worthwhile. You could probably use a budget carrier from Orly to Naples, although I did not check to see who flies that route.

Posted by Sarah
United States
215 posts

Thank you, thank you! I'm so energized with the suggestions you all have made. As soon as I can, I'm going to a spot where I can record the options. I may fly a discount airline from Naples to another city, as those flights might be cheap. Seeing as I have no room costs and board is as free as I let it, I think that's right. I'd never heard of Open Skies. As you might have gathered, doing my own planning is new to me. You all have made it fun!