Air Fares this year...

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Maximus, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    :eek:
    Wow are they sticking it to us this year!

    I just finished booking Christmas and Thanksgiving (booked about a month ago, Christmas booked this week) trips for DS and it was almost $1,200 for two round trips from Newark, NJ to Orlando, FL!!! This used to be a $99 flight!!!

    And what's with the no non stops? :frown:
     
  2. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Airtran pulled out of Newark and airline X is really gouging us now. I just need a one way ticket for my son at Cmas, as he'll catch up w/ the team on his own for the team trip...Delta wants >$400 for one way! I called to ask them if this was a mistake. It wasn't. DS can get himself to a different airport and fly w/ airtran for $150 (still $50 more than what I expected to pay).
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    have you looked at Southwest out of LaGuardia? they do go to Orlando from there- don't think they have anything going near Atlanta but you outta check.
     
  4. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Definitely fly Southwest, if you can. It is worth it. If you need to change your ticket, it is simple and easy to do online and they tack on a service charge. The price of your flight goes down - no problem, simply rebook and you get a credit and a year to use it. Check two bags for free!
    No, unfortunately they don't go to Atlanta yet. They do go to Birmingham and that is only 2.5 hours from Atlanta and a lot less hassle.

    Along the east coast - also look into the train - especially in the winter. Often if the airports are closed (ahem, last Dec 19th) the trains are still running.
     
  5. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Southwest was running a fantastic 72-hour sale last week:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/money/2009/10/27/2009-10-27_southwest_debuts_25_fare_sale.html

    $25 for flights 374 miles and shorter..

    $50 for flights 375-500 miles..

    $75 for flights 501-999 miles..

    $100 for flights over 1,000 miles.

    It was good for travel between 12/2 and 12/16, which worked perfectly for Winter Break at the USCGA. Even when paying their normal fare for the return flight, the round-trip ticket to come home for Christmas and return to the academy was less than $150.
     
  6. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    Yes they are sticking it to us, plus less flights to choose from! :thumbdown:

    I just booked my son's Christmas ticket last week and paid $120 more than last year. I did manage to get him non-stops both ways -- JFK to Seattle. I have found that flights to the west coast are a little cheaper out of JFK than Newark or LaGuardia.
     
  7. usna2012mom

    usna2012mom Member

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    Pushing Army/Navy game back a week didn't help either. Even a few days closer to Christmas can make a big difference in prices.
     
  8. mnolan

    mnolan Parent

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    Not really sticking it to us


    I am employed in aviation education and hate to say that the airlines really aren't "sticking" it to us. As fuel and other costs increase, they have not been able to raise fares much. $99 to Orlando sounds good, but even with a full airplane it's almost impossible to make money.

    The airlines only have two choices.....fill up the airplanes till they almost overflow (and virtually every flight I have been on recently has been FULL), and hope that enough business/first class passengers fly to pick up the slack. Everyone in the industry knows that all the profit comes from the front of the aircraft, and all the headaches come from the back! And with the current state of the economy, fewer companies are sending people on airline trips.

    Here are my suggestions to get good airfare....

    1. Book early...that means between 30 and 60 days out. If the airplane starts to fill up, prices start to rise.

    2. Fly from airports with competition. If one airline dominates either airport, you aren't going to get good fares....no different than any other industry.

    3. Fly during the week.....I know it is hard to do but Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday flights tend to be cheaper.

    3. Look at secondary airports within driving range. It might be cheaper to drive two hours to pick up your kid......depends on how cheap the flight is!

    4. If you book with Southwest (which will let you change to another ticket at no additional charge), get your reservation as soon as possible. You can always change it later if the price goes down or the days off change.

    5. Use sites like kayak.com, expedia.com, bing.com, orbitz or travelocity. Compare your results....sometimes they differ......before you book the flight, go to the actual airline site...sometimes they have better deals.

    6. If you use a site like BING, there is a fare predictor.....it may not be that accurate, but it is something. yapta.com does some of the same things.

    7. Sign up for email fare sales. Travelocity and others will let you track certain routes and will email you if the price goes down.

    8. From large metro areas, try all the airports. On sites like Kayak, you can have it search nearby airports. Other ways to to it are to use NYC (all New York area airports) or CHI (all Chicago airports) in the search engine.

    9. Go the opposite direction with round trips. For example, Newark to Orlando round trip is expensive over Christmas, but Orlando to Newark is much cheaper due to lower demand. This will sound complicated, but it could save some $$. If I found that MCO to EWR was the cheaper round trip, but I really wanted to go EWR to MCO, it might be worth buying a one way EWR to MCO ticket to get home for Thanksgiving. Then to get back, buy a MCO to EWR round trip that flies to Newark after Thanksgiving, then "returns" to Orlando at the beginning of Christmas break. It can get complicated, but if you go counter-flow you can save 10%-20% each time on some routes.

    10. Experiment with different routes, airports and times......sometimes you can link together one or two airfare sales to get a pretty good fare.

    Sites like the following have some good hints and tips.....happy flying:smile:
    http://www.airfarewatchdog.com
    http://www.independenttraveler.com/
    http://www.farecompare.com/
     
  9. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Thanks for the insight...wish I'd known all this sooner...will save your post and refer our newbie parents to it!
     
  10. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    mnolan - good tips. In fact, I have already been using several of them for the last four years. I am sure they have reduced the airfares I have paid even if I still complain about it.

    I am a little grumpy about the airlines because I absolutely hate the fee for your first bag. People already abused the carry on rules, but once that fee started they got even worse about dragging their full size suitcases on the plane as their "carry-on". If the airlines are going to continue with the baggage fees I would like to see them start enforcing the size limit for carry-ons.
     
  11. mnolan

    mnolan Parent

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    Grumpy

    Don't get me wrong....there is a LOT to dislike about the airlines! I wouldn't have such heartburn if the service weren't so bad and they weren't nickel and dimeing everyone to death.

    But in general, flying is a LOT cheaper in relative terms than it was 20-30 years ago. When I was a kid (long time ago) flying was expensive and special. Now everyone flies everywhere! It's relatively cheap, but it's not so special anymore. :frown:

    Guess that's a sign of getting old!:wink:
     
  12. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Don't disregard other forms of transporation. If you live on the East Coast and have a WP cadet or USNA mid - consider Amtrak. The stations in NYC and Baltimore are fairly easily accessible. Often when airports close - the train runs.

    Last year there was a heavy snow storm on the last day Cadets were released (which meant plebes, since they take their exams last). There were many delays at the NYC airports and many stranded cadets. Some took the train from NYC to Philly and were able to fly out of Philly. Knowing how to access and ride all forms of transportation is a great skill to learn.

    Also, consider having your cadet ride a bus, at least part way. Many WP Parent clubs charter busses for their cadets - perhaps the parent clubs at USNA do as well.
    For example, I have heard of cadets who live in Ohio getting a western pa parent club bus out to western PA and then have mom or dad drive a few hours to pick them up.

    One thing I have noticed is that many airlines are offering fewer flights and making more stops. I have seen this with Southwest's schedule. Flying out very early in the morning is often much cheaper and less likely to be delayed. Problem is many cadets get to the airport late in the afternoon and want to fly out then. Flexibility is the key.
     
  13. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    Just kind of venting Mnolan.
    Those are all great suggestions but the reality of the situation is this: I booked Thanksgiving's round trip out over 60 days, and it was still $609.00 for Newark to Orlando. You can't get any bigger or direct airports than that for us. DS is at USMAPS and to even get him to the airport was a miracle, they don't get released till noon on Thanksgiving eve (Wednesday), so unless he wants to get to Orlando at midnight or later Thanksgiving Day (Plus that's already a two hour trip for me to pick him up Thanksgiving eve), Laguardia was not an option.
    I guess I could try JAX's but I'm not into a midnight 4 hour trip to JAX! Other option was you stay at school for the three days he's off...not an option, we'd like to see him for the Holiday as much as he wants to see his friends lol
    Christmas was the same thing, booked well in advance and still the airlines are slamming people that have to fly over the holidays...period.

    For the record, I flew about 6 other times this year for business and also for overnight visits, I know the drill, packed flight always now and complaints from the air staff about how little they make....cripes, someone should sit down and make these people watch the motivational speech by Mr. Farrel called "Give 'em the pickle!" lol

    I too remember how expensive it was to fly 20 years ago, that's why we drove everywhere, again, not an option for Thanksgiving [or Christmas for that matter] for a SA or Prep Cadet or Midn.
    Watch the news, today airlines announced doubling the last (new) bag price to $20 each for Holiday traveler.

    BTW, I too love the new game of people packing a steamer trunk and thinking they are getting on the plane with it....then, be one of the poor schlubs that gets on last and there's no overhead space lol I told DS to take nothing but a book home! ...And wear his ACU's to get on the plane first. He was reluctant about that one till I explained how he might get to board first, might as well take the perk.
     
  14. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    red = Luigi59 edit.

    :thumb:

    :cool:
     
  15. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    It is frustrating when you live near a major airport and you still can't find a good rate...sure wish Southwest would come to Atlanta...but seems that ATL politicos don't want them here...sigh.:frown:
     
  16. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Luigi - does Amtrak ride near New London?
    do they have to go to Hartford to get it too?
    That would also apply to the mids out at Kings Point - I think they can get into the city fairly easily.

    Maximus -that is what I mean about being flexible. You CAN go a lot cheaper if you are willing to be flexible. Why was LGA not an option?
    Could he have gotten transportation to Philly from Ft Monmouth?
     
  17. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Major airports are often not cheaper. Southwest is branching out more and more but tend to be at the less busy airports. They are missing from a big chunk of the southeast. Maybe someday....
     
  18. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Amtrak station is in downtown New London, about a 2 minute drive from the USCGA front gate.
     
  19. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    First, we're talking about a four day pass, with a 12:00 noon dismissal Wednesday, and a Sunday 7:00pm evening accountability formation, the word "flexibility" doesn't factor in with that criteria.

    LGA is not an option because it will take about 3 to 4 hours to get there on Thanksgiving eve, and that would mean a flight departure time of, at minimum, 7 to 8:00pm, with an arrival time of around 11:00 PM minimum on our end in Orlando, then a two hour ride home, same thing with Philly if not more car time. Yes, I was not flexible but, what do you think the savings would have been? Maybe $20? It would have cost about $40.00 more for the car fare to LGA and the variable of traffic on Thanksgiving eve. I grew up in the New York metro/ New Jersey area and know full and well what traffic can be on Thanksgiving eve.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  20. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    I just checked PHL, it's $607.00 for round trip, no savings but a 3 to 4 hour ride on Thanksgiving Eve and triple the car fare. There really is no other airport with more choices, with the exception of Chicago to Orlando, FL. We're being scalped, I can usually book this flight for around $250 during the rest of the year.

    The statement of the year: It is, what it is!
     

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