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js2003 January 3rd, 2005 10:24 PM

AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
Any advice on how early is too early to buy airfare? We have better than 10 months before we travel and didn't know if there was a "standard" window of time that makes purchasing airfare better? I know prices will fluctuate - but that is not my issue - just didn't know if any frequent travelers follow a regular habit of buying tickets 6 months out, more, or even less?

Or, maybe I'm just so anxious - I can't stand the wait...!!!

nolou525 January 3rd, 2005 10:52 PM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
With any trip I have ever planned to take, I have always bought my airfare as soon as I see what I think will be the lowest price. Sometimes this means a much as 8-9 months off. When my son was still in high school but starting college in Tampa in the fall of 2003, I purchased his Thanksgiving ticket home in February of that year since it was only $200.00. When he started college in August, I checked the airfare for Thanksgiving and it was over $400.00. Did the same this year for both my kids to come home from Tampa, they both attend college there (we're from Massachusetts) and saved a good amount of money again. If you do purchase the ticket at a low fare and by some chance it comes down, the airline will give you a travel voucher for the difference. But if the fare goes up, you're all set and you saved some money.

js2003 January 3rd, 2005 11:09 PM

Re: Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
Thanks for the advice. At this point - any price less than the Cruise Company is going to be a "sale" but on tonight's news I heard that Delta is adjusting a lot of their fees and our airport is getting a new airline January 11 so, more competition is always better for the consumer...The news said some discounts might be as much as 60%. My main concern was that I didn't want to purchase TOO soon - but not so late that we don't get our choice of flights. We depart from port the Saturday after Thanksgiving - out of Tampa. Again, thanks for the quick response!

nolou525 January 3rd, 2005 11:50 PM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
You're very welcome. Have a great and safe week.

Donna January 4th, 2005 06:48 AM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
Hi JS,
Yes, you can start looking around for airfares now and if you see flights that are good for you and good times, etc....go ahead and book them. You'll notice they change almost daily and at least you have time if they appear to be high now.

Darcy January 4th, 2005 03:54 PM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
We flew into Tampa in April 2004 and will be flying in again in April 2005. For the 2004 flight I booked the air in early January 2004 and I just booked the airfare for April 2005. I've found it generally drops a little right after Christmas and then goes back up again in January. We fly during a school vacation week so I don't wait until we get too close. I booked the April 2005 cruise in June 2004 and checked airfare daily. It went from about $325/pp during the summer, $250/pp in the fall, to $400/pp over the holidays and I just booked at $168/pp. Hope this helps.

Mike M January 4th, 2005 04:11 PM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?

If you see a price that you are comfortable with then book it. Playing the pricing and waiting game may save you a few dollars or it can cost you more money.

It's like any purchase. You will probably see it for less at a later date or someone will tell you they got their airfare for less. At the end of the day what does it really matter. If it is within your budget then you got a deal.

Take care,

js2003 January 4th, 2005 07:47 PM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
Gotta love this board!!

Thanks for the advice everyone. Not only have I been searching for my own airfare bargains - I'm helping a friend look for hers! I think I could quote prices 24/7 and should start asking for a deposit! I'm obsessed with getting the best price - I just know how are luck runs and would hate to have to spend an extra $100 bucks for so to make a flight change due to our work we all know "Anything can happen" and usually to us! We're lucky to have an airport here - and access to 4 major hubs less than 3 hours away...just hate to have that drive waiting for both ways!

Anybody out there living within 3 hours of a port interested in adopting me? hehehehe I'm house broke, current on all my shots and I don't shed...

(thanks for everyone's help!) Sheryl

AR January 4th, 2005 09:27 PM

Re: Re: Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
You're absolutely right to see what Delta does over the next few days, and what their competitors do in response. Many travel editors are saying that what is coming could be the most significant restructuring of airline fares--and the arcane regulations that now surround them--since airline deregulation back in the "dark ages."

But be aware that most of the fare cuts will be centered around the now comparitively high "walk up" fares which are purchased at the last minute mostly for business travel. That's because the lowest leisure fares are already so low that there's not much more that can be cut.

What we are likely to see is a simpler structure overall, which, if it does what they intend it to do, will take away a lot of the "should I buy or should I wait" crapshoots you're now facing. We can hope so anyway.

Whatever happens, the old rules are changing, which means that our approach to buying tickets will have to change as well. This is one of those times when anecdotal stories about "what I did last year" and "what I always do" are simply irrelevant.

Desiree Russo January 8th, 2005 12:55 AM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?

where are you flying into? What airline are you going with that itis so cheap? thanks for answering...

HappyCruiser383 January 8th, 2005 08:36 AM

Re: AirFare - how early is too early to purchase?
I booked my flights just last week, 1-31 for my cruise in April. On 1-4 they called to tell me that the flights had changed. The flights are basically the same but this isn't the first time this has happened to me. I always plan to fly in the day before the cruise. I also plan to stay over the night we come back. This way I don't have to worry at all about those all to often flight and/or cruise ship delays.

Booking flights about 4 months out seems to be the norm unless you want a flight during a holiday period.

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