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Buying international airfare

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    Buying international airfare

    I'm traveling to Scotland and Ireland on a tour 7/3-15, and am wondering when the best time is to buy airfare. I've read on some web sites that it's good to hold off until about four months before the trip, and even to look on a Tuesday, because cheap seats are posted about four months in advance on a Monday evening (someone has clearly researched this!).

    I live in Bellingham, so naturally looked at flights from Seattle to Glasgow. They priced out around $1450 right now. However, Vancouver is even closer to me than SeaTac, and the flights were MUCH shorts (14.5 hrs as opposed to 22 hrs), and it priced at $1198 for a great schedule, using Air Canada and British Airways. On top of that, I have a 10% off Priceline coupon that is valid if I book before January 31st.

    So, I have two questions:

    1 - when is the best time to purchase international airfare?
    2 - does anyone know if the price would get much better than $1200?

    Thanks!

    #2
    Hi there, it might be different in the US but we try to book our flights as early as possible when flying from Australia to UK - we usually make substantial savings on 4 tickets that way. Booking early for a trip in June this year saved us over $1500 in total on the current price being offered by airlines. Because most international flights now codeshare with other airlines, it's rare for flights to have empty seats so those cheap last minute flights are almost non-existent on the Australia-UK route.

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      #3
      Thanks, djjr. It's difficult to know when to purchase since so many websites claim cheaper seats will be released four months out. I'm not sure I could do better than around $1k for a trip from Canada to Scotland! I just wish I knew where to look at cost trends on airfares.

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        #4
        I've seen this question so often it makes me laugh. We can no better predict when the best time is to buy airline tickets than we can judge when to buy and sell a stock. (And if anyone did know, they'd make a fortune. All they'd have to do is open up a travel agency and announce. "Today is the cheapest fare to....... People would be lining up to buy tickets.)

        The websites claim that on average four months out was the best time. That means some fares are best bought sooner to the flight and some are best bought later.

        My suggestion is to figure out a fare you'd be comfortable with and monitor it. You can set up fare alerts on numerous sites to alert you of changes to that route.

        You might also want to sign up with the airlines you're considering for their weekly fare deals.


        And don't forget to figure out what it will cost you to get to the airport. If it's much more to get to Vancouver than Seattle, then you aren't saving that much money.

        For July, I woulnd't wait too long as that is the height of travel season and people will be buying shortly.
        Last edited by Frank II; 01-15-2015, 03:15 PM.
        Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

        Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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          #5
          Thanks, Frank. Yes, I figured that might be the case; I just wish I knew what a typical flight to Scotland runs. I've never looked at it before. The main reason I'm considering the YVR-GLA route is that the travel time if 14.5 hours as opposed to 22 hours - that's worth its weight in gold right there! As you say, though - I have to get to YVR (only an hour drive; no big deal) but also have to get my own transfer from GLA to the hotel since I wouldn't be going through the tour company, and that's a bit of a disappointment. I plan to make a few phone calls before deciding. I'd sure love to shave off all that time from the flight, though.

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            #6
            Just for fun, have you looked at Icelandair? They usually have excellent rates and offer a free stopover in Iceland. You could spend a couple of days there.

            As for a typical flight cost, there is no such thing. However, if you can get a flight from the West Coast to Scotland in July for $1200, that's a pretty good deal. It may come down but the airlines are expecting 2015 to be a very good year. That means few discount fares.

            One bit of advice, once you buy your tickets, stop looking at the fares. No good can come of it.
            Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

            Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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              #7
              I had no idea there were free stopovers on IcelandAir; FUN! Thanks for the tip. Also good to know about the 2015 good year and that $1200 is a good deal from here; thanks for that.

              I burst out laughing when I read "once you buy your tickets, stop looking at the fares. No good can come of it." How true! It's like you knew I would do it, and I would indeed be tempted! Another thing I thought about was the fact that I could choose the seat I want this early as well. I will probably go ahead and get it now given the schedule and seat availability. Thanks Frank!

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