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Best time to book flights?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Camino Frances topics' started by Brian E, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Brian E

    Brian E New Member

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    Hey all,
    So I was going to walk the entire Camino a few years back but circumstances changed but still have longed to do it and will now take 2 weeks off work {instead of quitting and taking a nice long break was the original plan). I will go from St. Jean to Burgos in May 2018. I have started looking at flights and in just two weeks time prices have jumped up around $300-$400. It is 10 months out but my question is if there is a 'sweet spot' so to speak on when to buy flights? I realize world events, unexpected supply/demand fluctuations, etc. can play into it but disregarding all that what is the best time and how far out have people found to buy on the cheap(est)?

    If it helps I will be flying into Paris from Colorado and will be returning from Madrid back to Denver.
     
  2. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    When ever you see a price you are comfortable with, take it and call it a day. Why start playing the anxiety game for a few dollars you will spend buying too many bottles of vini tinto?
     
  3. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I can't normally access ricksteves.com so I'm not sure how good his information is but if you go to his website and use the search box for best time to buy tickets you should get something worthwhile. For that manner you may as well enter the same query in this forum's search box.
     
    Brian E likes this.
  4. Mauicathie

    Mauicathie Maui Cathie

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    Hey Brian, I'm not sure there is a solid answer to your question. I've been watching the prices jump all over the place for the last 6 months. I'm leaving in 7 wks for my first Camino and I just bought my tickets this morning. I got, what I think is a really good deal that worked for me, a round trip ticket from Denver to Paris for $490.00 on British Airways. Return 8 wks later Paris to Houston direct then up to Denver. Depends on how lucky you feel in waiting for last minute flight deals. Check out the travel site "Momando" best prices I found. good luck!
     
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  5. Gumba

    Gumba Member

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    Can you ask a travel agent? In Australia all the airlines have significant sales in October. That is when I will be purchasing our tickets for 2018. Good luck.
     
    Kanga likes this.
  6. linkster

    linkster Active Member

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    Checkout Google flights and you can look at different days and fares, plus you can track flights and get rate changes in your inbox.
     
    Brian E likes this.
  7. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    yes
    There is a sweet spot for airlines SELLING tickets. They have decades of data to mine, and their yield management programs look at past sales and future open seats, and set prices accordingly. It would be theoretically possible for 300 passengers to buy tickets at 300 different prices, but as a practical matter that does not happen. Any internet search will result in some theories about the best time to buy, but it is all second guessing the sophisticated yield management programs at each airline. When tickets are first available, they will be at their peak. As the departure approaches, they probably will rise to that peak. In between it will be a sine wave as they seek to get all the traffic will bear. About all you can hope for in air travel these days is that they won't drag you out of your seat and knock your teeth out...
     
  8. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    A tip: Let's say you find a good fare but you want to think about it and maybe shop around just a bit more but you don't find anything. So you go back to the site in a few days to buy. But the price has gone up. Crank up another browser that you never used for fare shopping (so it is airline cookie clean) and try to buy using that browser. You may end up getting the fare cheaper. Using just the original browser the fare may have gone up because it has gone up for everyone or it may have just gone up for only you because the airline has noticed (through cookies and your site browsing history) that you are really interested in one flight and figures that you may pay more. There is debate about whether airlines (or other shopping sites) really do individual price adjustments but using a second, cookie clean browser for a double check isn't going to hurt.
     
  9. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Hi, Brian and welcome to the forum,

    What amount would still be acceptable for your budget?
     
  10. Brian E

    Brian E New Member

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    Hello! Roundtrip plus a flight from Paris to Biarritz I was hoping to get under $1700 in total. Maybe $1300 for roundtrip multicity and another $200 or so for the Paris/Biarritz flight would seem possible (definitely not at the moment however and prices have spiked). Nothing is make or break but if I could save a few hundred bucks or so by waiting or 'trying to time' things then I am all for it.
     
  11. A Sime

    A Sime New Member Donating Member

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    I happened to get a ticket on American RT from Chicago to Paris for this Sept Camino for $400. And Delta was offering the same. It was black Friday, the day after the US Thanksgiving. And it was non-stop. I don't think it could go lower. Just an FYI.
     
    Brian E likes this.
  12. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    Salvador ('16),
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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    I did a quick search for Denver - Paris - Biarritz + Madrid - Denver. With strictly 2 weeks time frame and just for flying out in the first week of May 2018.

    Without ticket to Biarritz the lowest fares are on 1st, 7th and 8th of May at 881 € = 1.010 USD. Landing is at CDG (Charles de Gaulle) but from there I couldn't find any direct flight to Biarritz under 206€ = 236 USD, so that would sum up at 1250 USD approx.
    But there are flights from CDG to BIQ although through Lisbon which takes approx.4 hours altogether. And the lowest fares are 86€ = 99 USD so that would be 1.110 USD. You would still have time to get to Bayonne and SJPdP that afternoon.

    When I included Biarritz to the search the lowest is on May 1st at 944 € = 1080 USD but with transfer from CDG to Orly (ORY).
    I searched some more and think I found the cheapest option at 931 € = 1.068 USD
    See the screen shot: https://prnt.sc/fwsbq0
    DEN - ORY with only 1 hour stop in Reykjavik (both flights operated by Icelandair): https://prnt.sc/fwsd0v
    ORY - BIQ with only one and a half hour to change planes which might be too tight I think but maybe others have more experience with ORY airport: https://prnt.sc/fwse2i
    MAD - DEN is a bit of a drag with two stops in Lisbon (13 hours) and Newark: https://prnt.sc/fwsf35

    So I'd say there are plenty of options to play around. It just takes fair amount of time but can also save some money.

    Happy planning :)

    PS (Forgot to mentioned that I was using www.skyscanner.com)
     
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  13. Brian E

    Brian E New Member

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    I appreciate you taking the time to do some research. I keep forgetting about the Orly airport as an option as well in Paris. Well, at least I am starting to look and think about things early enough so am sure I will come up with something reasonably priced. If not, the Camino beckons regardless.
     
  14. MichaelC

    MichaelC Active Member

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    Wow, I can only dream of ticket prices that low!

    I've become semi-pro at finding affordable airfare to far away places, and my main observation is that there isn't a pattern. I've seen all the advice from the real pros (i.e., always buy on Tuesday morning, or there's a 'sweet spot' to buy x-months out, etc), but it all seems to be wishful thinking.

    I think you're best bet is to make friends with one of the airfare search engines. ITA Matrix 3.0 is my personal favorite, but there are others. You can search all the airfares for a given month, you can search using multiple potential stops (i.e, set your return from with Madrid or Lisbon or Barcelona), and see what comes up.

    I just did a quick search, and got results similar to what KinkyOne found on skyscanner.

    Two more sites, if you really want to waste some time on a Monday morning: RouteHappy grades individual flights, and tells you who feeds you and how much leg room you'll get, while SeatGuru discusses the best and worst seats on different planes.
     
  15. Purple Backpack

    Purple Backpack Active Member

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    I've used the Matrix mentioned above for years. You can't buy on the site but it lists every combination in the world and then you buy at the individual airline sites. Skyscanner is another site I use that finds routing that I may not think of. And MichaelC, whoever came up with SeatGuru is a genius. The train equivalent is Seat61, helpful if you're curious about the view on either side of the train. Google Mileage Runners to see sites for travelers finding deals just to earn airline points for really cheap fares.

    Instead of flying to Biarritz, have you thought of just taking the train out of CDG south? It's a nice way to relax after an overnight flight and if things go well, you can be in St Jean by dinnertime. Bahn.de is a useful tool for European train schedules...click the English tab in the top right unless you speak German.

    I usually end up with about $900 Den-Europe RT so those folks that found the $400ish fares hit the jackpot!
     
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  16. Brian E

    Brian E New Member

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    So anyone familiar with CDG airport: Would 1.5 hours be enough time to catch the train to St. Jean? That seems tight given customs, delays, etc. Or the other option I am looking at would be catch a flight to Biarritz which is a 2 hour layover at CDG. I hear that airport is pretty big and can be confusing...
     
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  17. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I just saw a report on NBC Nightly News. They report August 21 and 22 this year as the date of cheapest airfares. One was for domestic (US) flights and the other for international flights. An advanced Google search for airfare and "August 21" for pages updated within the last week should help you out.
     
    Brian E likes this.
  18. Walter James Palmer

    Walter James Palmer New Member

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    I had Google watch flights for me (other services will do this too). You can watch them fluctuate for awhile, then just pick one.
     
  19. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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