I'm booked on a cruise out of NYC on September 24th. Currently JetBlue is only selling seats through Sept 4th. Does anyone know how far in advance they begin selling seats? I've been checking in daily for weeks now, and the date they are selling out to hasn't changed.
I am not sure about JetBlue policy, but it shouldn't be much longer before you see flights through the end of September with them. Keep checking.
It is also a good idea to go to one of the mass-market discount sites that prices various airlines at once. Then if you see a flight/fare that looks good, go directly to that airline's site and book it. I've found that these travel sites are adding a service charge that the airlines do not.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
Personally, I don't book flights until after I've made final payment on a cruise. Too much can happen that may result in a switch of dates or an outright cancellation of a cruise. Once final payment has been made, though, then you are pretty sure you're going ... unless, of course, you have to cancel for an insured (assuming you bought travel insurance) reason.
With discount airfare being non-refundable, I guess I prefer to play it safe with booking airfare.
Most agents will book the "cruise air" when they book the cruise. I am not a fan of cruise air, especially if the cruise is leaving and returning to a domestic port. The price is almost always more expensive and you often end up with poor routing.
There is also the myth that the cruise line will take complete care of you if you miss your flight, it is delayed, or canceled. This is not true. The cruise line is merely an agent of the airlines and while they may hold the ship for a short time if there are a number of passengers on a flight or they may "assist" you in getting to the next port of call but when the rubber hits the road (there is an airline problem) you are on your own. It is documented in your documents and the travel agent guides.
To answer your question: I will use the cruise air as a guide for the pricing and then set what I feel is a reasonable price for the air fare. I will then begin looking on the major air search engines such as; Orbitz, Qixo, Travelocity, etc and when I see a reasonable air I then go to the airline's website and book it. I may find it less expensive at some time in the future but, then again, I may not. At least I have control of when I leave, return, direct flight, and the cost. I have yet, to pay more than cruise air for a domestic cruise.
The one time that cruise air can be a viable option is for open jaw and international flights. I often will take these at the time of booking. They can be canceled, without penalty if you do it before final payment, if you find less expensive air on your own.
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