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Old 08-08-2008, 10:21 AM
 
133 posts, read 457,067 times
Reputation: 87

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I wanted to book a flight from charlotte to NYC. I saw a great rate, waited a few hours and it went up $70! Multiple on-line travel sites had similar prices with similar increases?

Is this common? Is there a website you could direct me to explaining the logic with this? In general, when is the best time to get an air ticket?
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:35 AM
 
257 posts, read 1,010,928 times
Reputation: 93
depends if you are like leaving within the next week. i have found on sites like orbitz that the prices get cheaper as the time comes oddly...its not a constant, but with seats running out they want to book. Also its about 10 bucks more on travel sites than if you actually go to the airliners site. your best bet is to call and say you saw this price, why did it go up..and book withina day or two.
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:35 AM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 37,260,195 times
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The airlines have x number of seats for sale at different levels of fares. Been this way for DECADES! Once the seats at the lowest fare sell-out you move up to the next level. Change flight times and see if that makes a difference. You might find a flight on the same day but different time that still has some seats left at the lower fare. As for how many seats are alloted for each fare.....just depends. During high traffic times like the holidays they usually raise their fares and only offer a few seats at the lowest advertised fare. If your booking for more than 1 passanger try looking for just 1 ticket and see if that prices lower. You might be able to get 1-2 tickets at the lower fare and pay the higher fare for the 3rd-4th. Still cheaper than paying a higher fare for all of them - if that is the case and your looking to fly the whole family vs just 1 person.

Expedia is pretty good. They sent me an alert the other day w/ some GREAT fares. I was tempted to book one of them but the last day for travel was before we wanted to or could. bummer.

The next thing you can do is call the airline directly. They can tell you how many seats they have at the lower fare on each flight. Each fare has a code (ex: Y, XY, XY123, etc).
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Jollyville, TX
3,850 posts, read 9,442,230 times
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Logic? Airfares?? That's an oxymoron. Yeah, they have a system, but it's tough to figure out. What I do, is view the available seats on a particular flight. If there are only a few seats left, I grab the cheapest fare I can find. If there are lots of seats, I sit back and wait for the price to go down. One thing I heard and have found to be somewhat true is that Wednesday at 12:01 AM, fares drop - I'm not sure I understand the logic, but I've gotten my best airfare deals at 6 AM on Wednesday morning.

I've also noticed that fares are higher during the "work week hours". I've looked at a fare during the day and checked the same one early the next morning and there was a $70 - $120 difference. Business travelers are paying a premium.

I also like the website farecast.com - if you are flying into a major airport, it will give you predictions on whether the fare is likely to increase or decrease.
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Stanwood, Washington
658 posts, read 648,367 times
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Pricing is all about timing and marketing. I have seen $400 swings in international fares in minutes.
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Old 08-08-2008, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Fairbanks, AK...formerly Kentucky
631 posts, read 1,698,631 times
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Yeah, its pretty common. Actually a fare increase of $70 isn't that bad. After flying in and out of Alaska for the past 6 years I've learned to buy on the spot if I find a cheap ticket because the fares can get astronomical up here.
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Old 08-08-2008, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
5,687 posts, read 8,599,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momof2dfw View Post
The airlines have x number of seats for sale at different levels of fares. Been this way for DECADES! Once the seats at the lowest fare sell-out you move up to the next level.
This can't be true. When was was booking my flight to London earlier this year, I booked 4 months in advance and got the worst fare since the fares started actually falling 2 months before the departure date and hit a low and then was constant till about 2 weeks before departure when they started skyrocketing. My guess is start out 2 months before departure and check consistently for 10 days, then buy after 10 days.

My point is that it doesn't pay to book too early.
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Western Mass.
605 posts, read 2,219,421 times
Reputation: 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
This can't be true. When was was booking my flight to London earlier this year, I booked 4 months in advance and got the worst fare since the fares started actually falling 2 months before the departure date and hit a low and then was constant till about 2 weeks before departure when they started skyrocketing. My guess is start out 2 months before departure and check consistently for 10 days, then buy after 10 days.

My point is that it doesn't pay to book too early.
It's partially true. If seats aren't sold at a predetermined rate as time progresses then prices will fall again. Prices are managed in this way to ensure that the plane flies as full as possible while making the highest revenue.
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:27 PM
 
70 posts, read 227,211 times
Reputation: 24
Honestly, I say search on someone else's computer. I trvael for work and personal at least 5 flights per year.

Sites like Kayak seem to remember your IP address and know when you're looking for a flight and even if you delete all your temp files and cookies, etc. it's hard to get the search to reveal a same rate or cheaper flight.

This happened to me last summer. On my computer at work I searched for flights on Kayak to Italy. My colleague did the exact same search as me at the exact same moment, and Kayak revealed a flight through Travelocity that did not come up my computer. And of course that one was cheaper. I know this sounds paranoid, but we did it again at work today.

We're quoting flights for India, and my colleague has been Kayaking for a flight on her computer for a couple of weeks. Today she went on my intern's computer to look and all these Air India flights came up. Nothing was different, except the computer being used.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2008, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Chicago
6,021 posts, read 13,544,981 times
Reputation: 8045
do you remember what airline it was? I remember this happening to me last year when I was looking for flights from BOS to ORD. the cheap options disappeared from expedia, but when I went directly to the airline's website, seats were still available at the cheap price
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