When to book airfare to Europe in peak months?

Hello. I am looking to book airfare to Munich in August, returning to US from Florence in September. Airfares are about $1700 now, anyone able to predict whether they will go down at some point? Thank you.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11071 posts

Every bit of augery I've ever read on this subject turns out to be simple guess work. You'll hear stories about someone who waited until a certain time period, then found a lower rate, but you'll equally read stories about people who waited too long then ended up paying more than they wanted. If you're comfortable with $1700, just buy the ticket and don't look back.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
3399 posts

Unfortunately, you don't say where you're flying from. I would assume you're from the West Coast, as East Coast tickets are more like $1300 for that time period.

European flights for Summer, 2014 are essentially being dictated by 3 airline partnerships, and they are very good at controlling the supply and demand of seats. I wouldn't look for prices to be much lower unless there's a drop in demand.

I'm just not seeing any deals at this time. Who knows what the near future will bring?

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5962 posts

Your problem is fares drop starting August 24. If you can put off the trip departure until then, I see lots of options using United/Lufthansa/Air Canada for $1310. I also used Rome as the return airport, as it is easy to get to by train from Florence and avoids a double change return flight from Florence, a small regional airport.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
4034 posts

"Best advice is when you see a fare you like, buy it, don't wait." (Edit: the post I'm quoting is now deleted)
I've read this advice on this forum often, but what if you never see a fare you "like"? What if you keep waiting and it just keeps going up?
We always booked 9 mos ahead until one year when the advice from a certain someone and a few others on the helpline kept saying wait until 2-3 mos out... we waited and ended up paying $1800 per ticket instead of $1300 per ticket 9 mos out. I never waited again, and we are back to buying 9 mos or so out.
There is no way to know what fares will be in the future.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
7354 posts

I usually buy 9 months out, as well. I try various airport combinations - a winter break trip R/T Detroit/Brussels was a little over $1000, summer trip R/T Detroit/Milano was $1100.

I fly Monday through Thursday and that seems to bring the cost down a little, you could try that regardless of how far ahead you buy your ticket.

Oh, and once I buy the ticket, I never check prices again.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
14118 posts

Susan, sometimes travelers have unrealistic expectations for pricing. They heard that someone got a $800 ticket and think that all tickets should be $800. Ticket pricing is very unpredictable. Our experience is that 8 or 9 months out is about the cheapest. They may be some dips along the way but the price just continues to go up. I have never seen the some called "sweet spot" at 12 weeks. But it is still a popular urban legend. Aug and Sep is still peak travel time.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
4034 posts

Thanks Frank, we agree. I still don't understand the "if you see a fare you like, buy it" advice when all the fares are high.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
7354 posts

Re: If you see a fare you like, buy it.

Is it liking the fare that's a problem? Whether I like the fare or not, if I want to travel, I have to buy a ticket. So "like" becomes relative, especially if you start checking fares well ahead of time. When fares keep inching up past $1600, that still available $1500 ticket starts to develop a likeable personality.