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Making Choices - And Pulling The Trigger

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I've been drving myself crazy trying to decide when to buy airfare for 2 different flights. The first one's a quick visit to Ireland in March. What I always think should be simple has now been complicated beyond belief, and the process now has to include such questions as:
  • WHY does any airline think 90 minutes is enough time for an international connection? Why do they even waste my time by listing these ridiculous itineraries?
  • WHY do airlines list the very important "airport change" in tiny print?? Not that I'm interested under any circumstances, but having to travel bewteen LGW and LHR, or EWR and JFK is just asking for (even more) trouble given the recent airline/airport meltdowns.
  • If the price today is X, but last year the price dipped in mid-February, should I pay X now, or wiat to see if the price will dip. OR get burned when I discover that not only won't the price dip, the fares this year will never, ever be as low as that one day I saw it listed as X. I can't figure out what's a reasonable price to pay for a dozen eggs, much less airfare to Dubrovnik.
Trying to balance my ideal schedule (which really requires a private jet and a backyard runway) and stay within a certain price range has never been easy for me. One thing I do know - when flying TO Europe, I ALWAYS want a direct flight to my final destination. Not that I'm going to sleep, but still, having to put my shoes back on, stow all my electronic devices, deflate the pillow, roll up my foot hammock, and try to organize my travel documents is something I don't want to have to do any more than necessary, so I'd rather fly TPA-PHL-DUB, than TPA-LGW-DUB. In fact, going through London before Dublin probably involes going through immigration TWICE - even worse!

I ended up selecting what I consider to be a really bizarre route - I have to fly from Tampa to Dall/Ft Worth to get to Dublin - seriously??? But in the end I selected the least painful itinerary at a price that I can live with. Premium economy wasn't available, so at least I didn't have to wrestle with that dilemma.

For the other flight, to Dubrovnik, I wanted to use miles, meaning I need to book sooner rather than later, before the itinerary I want is gone, or before they raise the number of miles needed. This itinerary is pretty weird too. If we can get oursleves to Orlando (about 2 hrs away), they have a pretty direct flight - MCO-LGW-DBV. Yes, we have to change planes in Europe, which is breaking one of my rules, but honestly, getting to Dubrovnik isn't that easy! It cost us 30K miles each PLUS $250 in taxes (for the privilege of landing at Gatwick), but the way I see it, it was only going to get more expensive and more complicated if I waited, so I booked that flight too.

Now all I have to do is try to keep up with the schedule changes you know will happen!
 

joe

1000+ Posts
  • If the price today is X, but last year the price dipped in mid-February, should I pay X now, or wiat to see if the price will dip. OR get burned when I discover that not only won't the price dip, the fares this year will never, ever be as low as that one day I saw it listed as X. I can't figure out what's a reasonable price to pay for a dozen eggs, much less airfare to Dubrovnik.
Yes, that's the usual dilemma, but the degree to which you worry about it depends entirely on you :
If you like to have everything planned and settled long before the trip, then pull the trigger when the price is low, but not necessarily the lowest possible.
If you can afford to be flexible and you enjoy the race after the best possible deal, then bide your time and buy when you get that notification about that rare deal.

For me, personally, the first way is the best - I get peace of mind long before the trip takes place. I use Google Flights to give me a rating for the offered price. Sure, they base their recommendation on the past and trends could change - but in these chaotic times, that's the best anyone can do. I bought tickets a month ago for an autumn trip to Italy, based on the fact that Google Flights stated that my price is in the "low" range. That's good enough for me, because I haven't flown in the last 5 years and have no idea what people have been paying recently. And if someone gets the same flight for 15% less, then good for them. We've both enjoyed the ride : they "beat the system", and I got one more thing off my mind at a reasonable price.

This is how GF shows their rating, if you're not aware of it :

dbv.png
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Somebody sent me an email and all it said was "Tampa to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Dubrovnik." I assume it was someone who read my post. Since we wanted to use miles, we had to go with AA hubs, but thanks for the info!
 

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