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Beginning a flight search — my New Year’s Day tradition

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
First of all, let me echo the other Happy New Year’s wishes I’ve seen scattered around the forum. There’s something refreshing and energizing about starting a New Year. And many, though not all, would also say we are starting a new decade! But I don’t want to get into that debate right now. (Is it possible that the US news media can find a way to hurl insults to each other about when the new decade starts?????)

For years now, I start peeking at airfares and schedules on New Years Day. I don’t have many choices, since my only airline is AA from my tiny Illinois town. But rarely have I been as shocked as I was today to see that the lowest fare I could get for home to Alicante, with a return to home from Madrid, was over $3,000. I am assuming there is a glitch here (since Premium Economy was $1000 less than regular economy), but for those of you who get these amazing RT fares, just think of us poor peregrinos here in the boonies who are captives to the only game in town.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Rolotom

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances
First of all, let me echo the other Happy New Year’s wishes I’ve seen scattered around the forum. There’s something refreshing and energizing about starting a New Year. And many, though not all, would also say we are starting a new decade! But I don’t want to get into that debate right now. (Is it possible that the US news media can find a way to hurl insults to each other about when the new decade starts?????)

For years now, I start peeking at airfares and schedules on New Years Day. I don’t have many choices, since my only airline is AA from my tiny Illinois town. But rarely have I been as shocked as I was today to see that the lowest fare I could get for home to Alicante, with a return to home from Madrid, was over $3,000. I am assuming there is a glitch here (since Premium Economy was $1000 less than regular economy), but for those of you who get these amazing RT fares, just think of us poor peregrinos here in the boonies who are captives to the only game in town.

Buen camino, Laurie
Hey Laurie.....I have great success flying Norwegian from NYC.....check if you can get to New York on a regional airline like southwest or JetBlue from somewhere near you. Flying to Paris from there for $230 and return on TAP all the way to my home in Florida for $267 (from Lisbon) for my sept 2020 camino
 

YMMV

Your Mileage May Vary
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Planning for April 2020)
I've found Google Flights » https://www.google.com/flights » to be one of the better research tools. It offers easier reseach to different cities to fly in and out of, and to see if there are cheaper nearby dates. The system allows checking prices for one way, return flights, and multiple cities, so one can be creative.

If I might make a couple more suggestions » Be mindful of the day you are flying - Flights on weekends cost more, for example, as are flights any time approaching holidays. Often changing a departure date by a day or two days can save you hundreds.

Also flights to certain cities are much higher than others. In my research for flights to the region, for example, I've found that flying into Lisbon, Madrid, and Paris are cheaper than the other major airports nearby. YMMV depending on which airline you fly on.

I plan to walk the Frances, so when I look at prices, I also take into account costs of getting from those airports to my chosen departure, in my case SJPdP. Something else to consider perhaps.

In my case, after realizing my planned departure date was near the start of Easter (Semana Santa 2020 » 5 de Abril » 13 de Abril) I realized the reason prices for everything were higher that week.

Hope some of this helps.

YMMV
Robert
 

Tracey Neal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Another caution: check how much it costs to check a bag. On some airlines the charge is over $130.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco(2017) Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(2019) CF
First of all, let me echo the other Happy New Year’s wishes I’ve seen scattered around the forum. There’s something refreshing and energizing about starting a New Year. And many, though not all, would also say we are starting a new decade! But I don’t want to get into that debate right now. (Is it possible that the US news media can find a way to hurl insults to each other about when the new decade starts?????)

For years now, I start peeking at airfares and schedules on New Years Day. I don’t have many choices, since my only airline is AA from my tiny Illinois town. But rarely have I been as shocked as I was today to see that the lowest fare I could get for home to Alicante, with a return to home from Madrid, was over $3,000. I am assuming there is a glitch here (since Premium Economy was $1000 less than regular economy), but for those of you who get these amazing RT fares, just think of us poor peregrinos here in the boonies who are captives to the only game in town.

Buen camino, Laurie
Happy New Year @peregrina2000 ! I play the New Years Day flight search game too...lol I use Hipmunk flight tracker to find my perfect flights. Last year I did use AA miles, but it was a never ending journey to get where I was going. In past years I've booked directly after receiving good fares from the flight watch. Others I've walked with from smaller towns have done the search in sections...that is, plan to pay for a shorter flight to a major hub that AA will get you to ( Boston? Chicago? JFK?) and look for your international flights from there using a multi city search. Iberia by far has the better prices to Spain...I've booked Boston to Pamplona, Santiago to Boston...round trips in July 2020 $613 ! I'm good with that :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I thought you were kidding (and I've traveled about 3 million actual miles over the years) so I took a look. Really bizarre results. Chicago-Madrid premium economy was about $4,000 (although I did find a 1-stop via LOT airlines that was 1800), economy was about $500 and business class ranged from $1800 (TAP) to about $7500 (Iberia - non-stop). I looked for dates in mid-May. TAP seems to consistently have the cheapest flights and their service is pretty good (787 class aircraft) but their coach offering is a little sparse. Seems like the strategy of the airlines is to offer nothing for a little money (economy), soak the person who wants to or has to fly premium economy, and really screw the business traveler (with the exception of TAP).,
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
First of all, let me echo the other Happy New Year’s wishes I’ve seen scattered around the forum. There’s something refreshing and energizing about starting a New Year. And many, though not all, would also say we are starting a new decade! But I don’t want to get into that debate right now. (Is it possible that the US news media can find a way to hurl insults to each other about when the new decade starts?????)

For years now, I start peeking at airfares and schedules on New Years Day. I don’t have many choices, since my only airline is AA from my tiny Illinois town. But rarely have I been as shocked as I was today to see that the lowest fare I could get for home to Alicante, with a return to home from Madrid, was over $3,000. I am assuming there is a glitch here (since Premium Economy was $1000 less than regular economy), but for those of you who get these amazing RT fares, just think of us poor peregrinos here in the boonies who are captives to the only game in town.

Buen camino, Laurie
AA has a $99 MasterCard with minimum purchase that has a 60,000 miles reward. That's how we went last year "$99". I apologize for this commercial, I'm trying to help.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for all the tips, guys. I knew there was a glitch in the system, and it had to do with adding that Madrid-Alicante leg on Iberia onto the trip. Regular round trips to Madrid were in the $1200 range, decent price for my small airport. A very patient customer service person spent about 45 minutes with her computer and then her supervisor to get the right configuration. And I got the ticket with the Madrid-Alicante leg for a little less than the RT Madrid flight was showing. I know that seems like a lot to those who live in big cities and can use all sorts of airlines but it is a lot less than the $3000 I was getting on my computer yesterday! And thankfully American is partners with Iberia so I can add those internal flights onto my ticket.

Fingers crossed, Santiago willing, I will start walking the Lana on May 15. An earlier start date would have been ideal, and this is pushing it into the hotter temperatures a bit, but this was the best I could do.

Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Peg and I once got a cheap roundtrip fare between Detroit and Amsterdam making it worth the flights between Boston and Detroit. That is starting the trip by flying in the opposite direction.

Another weirdness is that I saw a Level airlines Boston/Barcelona flight for last month where the premium fare was significantly less than the economy fare.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
AA has a $99 MasterCard with minimum purchase that has a 60,000 miles reward. That's how we went last year "$99". I apologize for this commercial, I'm trying to help.
We use thus card for everything so the miles pile up fast. I’ve flown for just the taxes the last 3 summers to Spain and Portugal. This summer I’m flying to Prague 1st then on to Madrid and then Lisbon. I fly back from Madrid and total ticket was about $30. I did book my flight out as soon as th
 

Chris Gi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Did April through June 2018 from Pamplona to Santiago.
2020 May or end of September - NO!
2021 ?
I've found Google Flights » https://www.google.com/flights » to be one of the better research tools. It offers easier reseach to different cities to fly in and out of, and to see if there are cheaper nearby dates. The system allows checking prices for one way, return flights, and multiple cities, so one can be creative.

If I might make a couple more suggestions » Be mindful of the day you are flying - Flights on weekends cost more, for example, as are flights any time approaching holidays. Often changing a departure date by a day or two days can save you hundreds.

Also flights to certain cities are much higher than others. In my research for flights to the region, for example, I've found that flying into Lisbon, Madrid, and Paris are cheaper than the other major airports nearby. YMMV depending on which airline you fly on.

I plan to walk the Frances, so when I look at prices, I also take into account costs of getting from those airports to my chosen departure, in my case SJPdP. Something else to consider perhaps.

In my case, after realizing my planned departure date was near the start of Easter (Semana Santa 2020 » 5 de Abril » 13 de Abril) I realized the reason prices for everything were higher that week.

Hope some of this helps.

YMMV
Robert
Thank you for the Google advice. Perfect for my planning for September - October. I hope that I am reading it correctly but I can get a RT from my home town of San Diego to SdC for just over $1300 with no more than 2 stops and on regular air lines.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
United usually has the best flight options from my small airport, so I have a United branded Visa card which allows me a free checked bag - even on Basic Economy fares, Priority Boarding and I get two lounge passes each year. The annual fee is $100. They will also pay for cardholders to get Global Entry, which really helps speed up Immigration/Customs back into the US. (unfortunately, I had already paid for Global Entry before they instituted this perk)
@peregrina2000 - if you don't already have the AA credit card you should consider it for the extra perks and mileage points! I have been able to get of my flights using points for for 4/5 of my Caminos.

Hey Laurie.....I have great success flying Norwegian from NYC.....check if you can get to New York on a regional airline like southwest or JetBlue from somewhere near you. Flying to Paris from there for $230 and return on TAP all the way to my home in Florida for $267 (from Lisbon) for my sept 2020 camino
When flying using separate tickets you need to make sure to leave a lot of time between flights in case of delays and/or schedule changes, or else you can find yourself having to purchase a new ticket at walk up rates. Sometimes this means an overnight stay, which can add in a lot of extra costs.
 

byrdie444

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept (2019)
I’m pretty sure this stands for American Airlines.
Thank you. I haven't flown in a long time and planning my first Camino. Would like to collect miles and never knew how that worked! I'm just gathering info on what credit card to get to start the process.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
Peg and I once got a cheap roundtrip fare between Detroit and Amsterdam making it worth the flights between Boston and Detroit. That is starting the trip by flying in the opposite direction.

Another weirdness is that I saw a Level airlines Boston/Barcelona flight for last month where the premium fare was significantly less than the economy fare.
Level offers very low fares, by excluding bags and meals. It is Iberia Airlines cheap fare. If you are ok with a carry on size bag ( which I am), then the price is realistic. I think that I will eat in the airport( better food anyway, with more choice as well) and bring some snacks.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thank you. I haven't flown in a long time and planning my first Camino. Would like to collect miles and never knew how that worked! I'm just gathering info on what credit card to get to start the process.
Determine which airline operates the routes that you are likely to travel most frequently, and get their credit card. Or you can get a credit card like Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Capital One card which let you transfer points to airlines. They all have some sort of sign up bonus that will earn you around 50,000 points if you spend a specified amount of $$$ within the first few months.
There are lots of sites comparing cards like this one

These are all US credit cards.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
All I can say is that I'm glad I booked my flight from Chicago to Oviedo, Spain via Madrid the first week in November, flying back from Santiago to Chicago via Madrid for approx $575 total US, going mid April thru mid May!
Note to self...never purchase airfare the first day of the new year....maybe a month before or after could help tremendously.
 
Last edited:

flickchic98

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 18,2015 - June 23,2015 El Camino Frances
May 25, 2017 - June 30th, 2017 Le Puy to Moissac
Have you ever tried cheapoair.com? I've had a lot of luck with that website. They check for flights from different carriers and airports so you may leave from one airport and arrive at a different one. But then my hub is NYC. That might be worth exploring. Taking a train or cheap flight to NYC before your flight.
I found a RT from NYC to Madrid for 350$. Direct flight there and overnight stay in toronto in the way back. Good luck! ALso remember the trains in Spain are fantastic and if you buy early enough they can be cheap.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Have you ever tried cheapoair.com? I've had a lot of luck with that website. They check for flights from different carriers and airports so you may leave from one airport and arrive at a different one
That's called a multi city search, and you can search that way on Google Flights or ita matrix, which will link you to the airline to book. You can book multi airline itineraries this way without using a third party. I don't like booking through third parties because you put an unnecessary layer between yourself and the airline. Any changes have to be done through the third party who will charge their own additional fees.
 

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