User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: Airline Travel for the Unawares

  1. #1
    I have lots of Seniority
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    mile high clubhouse
    Age
    32
    Posts
    22,193
    Points
    1,024 (26,499 Banked)

    Airline Travel for the Unawares

    Hey everybody, as I've mentioned before, I travel a lot. As such, I've got a fair bit of experience with airlines, frequent flier programs, etc, and I'd like to impart some of my experiences here. There's probably nothing here that you couldn't find on another site, but I figured I'd post some information here for you. Questions, comments, and your experiences are certainly welcome here as well.

    Rule 1: Always make sure to have a frequent flier account with a partner airline before you fly any airline

    The 3 global alliances are
    • SkyTeam
    • Star Alliance
    • Oneworld


    Additionally, in the US, the three biggest are:
    • Rapid Rewards (Southwest)
    • A+ Rewards (AirTrain)
    • Elevate (Virgin America)


    You can enroll for all of them online for free. Generally (in the US), it makes sense to sign up for:

    Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is available for Alaska Airlines passengers, but Alaska has agreements with Delta and American Airlines, so your miles can transfer to either of those (which are larger) at 1:1, so I usually recommend doing so.

    Also, dedicate some e-mail account to receive all of their e-mail communications, even if you don't read them. In gmail, you can just filter them all into an archive. the reason for receiving all communications is that often airlines offer promotions, but only to the people who have signed up to receive those promotions via e-mail.

    Also, I find that a lot of people don't seem to know that airlines don't entirely order things like standby lists by when you check in. First, standby (and other) lists are ordered by status class (say, first all "platinum" members, then all "gold" members, then all "silver" members, then "general" members [even those with 0 miles in their account], THEN everybody else). Within each status class, these lists are ordered usually first by fare class of the ticket and then by the time you were added to the list. So even if you don't have any miles, if you're still a member of the program, you'll get ahead of other people.

    Rule 2: Pick your horse(s)

    If you fly mostly regionally, Southwest is probably the best bet (with only 8 round trips / 16 one-way trips, you get a free round trip ticket). But if you fly at least 15,000 miles in a year, it makes sense to try to do it as much as possible on a single alliance. Miles flown on USAir will count toward United and vice versa, depending on which you want to keep as your "primary account" for that alliance. After 25,000 miles on most airlines, you get to a "premier" status, which usually means:
    • No charge for checked luggage
    • You get to go through the "expert" security lines, which are a lot faster
    • You get to board the plane before most other people
    • You get more miles for every flight you take (typically a 25% bonus for the lowest premier level; 100% bonus for higher levels -- which means every mile you fly counts double)
    • Top of the list for standby flights and upgrades
    • Some free upgrades to first/business class seats
    • You get to check in at express check-in lines
    • Often, gate agents, flight attendants, and rebooking agents will just be nicer to you. I've had flights instances where a flight was canceled due to weather, which was the last flight of the day. Others on my flight were given half- to full-off hotel prices at the Days Inn, Best Western, etc (depending on their ticket fare). Some of them received meal vouchers. I received meal vouchers as well as a fully paid stay at the Sheraton (which was extra convenient, as I have status with Starwood hotels, so they upgraded me to a nicer room for the night).


    Rule 3a: Matrix ITA Software

    Log in as guest. This site is awesome. It searches virtually every airline (notable exception: Southwest) and lays out the the different ways to get somewhere, alerting you of long layovers, prop planes, overnight flights, etc. It gives a graphical display of all the flights by time.

    Rule 3b: Kayak

    This site searches Hotwire, airfare.com, Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline all at once (again, these search everything except Southwest)

    Rule 4: Check MileMaven before you book any flight

    About 50% of the time, you can earn at least twice the miles that you would otherwise earn. Sometimes, there are even triple mile promotions. This makes it a lot easier to get premier status or a free reward ticket. Make sure to sign up for the promotion BEFORE you purchase your trip, as often times you have to be registered before booking to get credit for the flight.

    Rule 5: Get a good seat

    Both SeatExpert and SeatGuru will show you which seats are good and which are bad on your upcoming flight, as well as locations of power ports, etc. If you've been assigned a shitty seat, you can usually change your seat online (with some airlines, before you check in, but some require check in to change your seat). Seat availability / rearrangements most often take place (and I often check) 3 days before the flight, 2 days before the flight, 1 day before the flight, then every hour before the flight until I get a good seat.

    Once you're in the airport and your gate becomes available, you can ask them to put you on a list for seat change if you have something like a middle seat, but this is far less reliable and depends on who doesn't show up, who gets upgraded out of your cabin, who is in standby, and how the gate agent is feeling at the time. Usually the gate agent is pissed off.

    With Southwest, your seating group depends on how early you check in, which you can do up to 24 hours ahead of the flight. If you wait until 2 hours before the flight to check in, you'll get a shitty seat like C30. If you check in 23 hours before the flight, you'll get a good seat like A20.

    Rule 6: Connecting flights suck. Be prepared

    If you're connecting through Chicago ORD or New York JFK and you only leave 1 hour between your connections, the rule of thumb is that you are going to miss your connection. Even if you're smart about your connections, it's wise to sign up for text/e-mail notifications provided by every major airline. If your flight is delayed or canceled or has a gate change, you'll know before you even leave the airplane (you can also check the airline website on your mobile device).
    • If you're going to be really tight on time between making your connection, have a gate agent call the gate you're going to, to let them know you landed and you're going to get there. Sometimes, they'll be nice and hold the plane for you. Depending on the airport, they may also be able to help get you one of those golf-cart things to drive you to your gate, which I assure you is faster than your ability to run there with luggage in hand
    • If your connecting flight has already left or is canceled, call the reservation number of the airline immediately... before you even get off the plane, if possible! Tell them what happened and ask them to rebook you on the next available flight. Have your frequent flier number, ticket number, license, and potentially a credit card ready (you shouldn't have to pay, but they may use it for verification). They'll be able to get/guarantee you a ticket and you won't even have to wait in line. When it comes to cancellations, it's more first-come, first-serve, so every second counts when coming to your rebooking. Listing of airline phone numbers: http://www.tollfreeairline.com/
    • If you have a really long layover, recheck your gate information 1 hour before your connecting flight at the monitors. Also, as a general rule, for airports with international concourses, those concourses tend to be much nicer than domestic concourses, especially in terms of the quality of food.
    • Flights that leave/arrive earlier in the day are less likely to get delayed. Connections are no exception.


    Rule 7: Packing / Security for dummies

    I'm not going to go over the obvious (don't bring sharp objects or water to security, "3-1-1" etc) here -- you can look those up here. But, the things I see people frequently forget/miss:
    • Most airlines (other than southwest) offer some form of in-flight entertainment -- tv, movies, or music. Bring your own headphones! Airlines that do provide in-flight entertainment will also either give you headphones or sell them to you, but they're always garbage. Bring nice ones. I like passive headphones, because for most flights, they don't ask you to "turn them off" like they do active headphones and they're not as bulky. Shure makes a bunch of good ones.
    • This article describes the best ways to pack your luggage. I usually roll my clothes, which results in little to no wrinkling and also gives you more space to pack your clothes.
    • Put all your toiletries/liquids in a Zip-Lock bag when you pack, not when you get to the airport. I travel enough that I just have a second set of toiletries that I always leave in my travel bag, but no matter what, it's going to be faster to do this ahead of time. Remember, you have to take these out at security and you're going to piss other people off less if you don't take forever doing so.
    • When you look at your boarding pass, if you have the letters "SSSS" (Secondary Security Screening Selection) it means you're lucky enough to be selected for extra/special security screenings. Be prepared for security to take longer. You're more likely to get this if you book one way flights, pay with cash, book same-day flights, or if your name matches the name of somebody on the terrorist watch list.
    • If you're checking luggage, put ID tags on it and in it. Be able to remember at least 3 items in the bag as well as the shape, the color, the style of the bag, whether its hard or soft, etc.
    • I usually fly with a backpack as my "personal item" (which doesn't count toward your one allowed carry-on). Before I get to the airport, I take almost all the metal (keys, change, etc) in my pockets in this backpack. Then, once you get to security, you don't need to take much out.
    • Stack your bins when going through security if you want to be nice to the people behind you. By this, I mean, first take your laptop out (if you have one) and put it in bin #1. Then put bin #2 on your laptop (partially in bin #1) and put your other things in that bin. Don't put your carry-on/personal item on the table before the screening until you're up to the X-ray belt. This leaves more space for the other people without any real penalty to you. Once you get to the X-ray belt, put bin #2 on, then bin #1 on, then your personal item, then your carry-on. Make sure they all go in before you go through the metal detector.
    • Before the metal detector: Laptops come out of the bag. Jackets come off. Shoes come off. Hats come off. Belts with metal buckles come off, even if you know it won't set off the metal detector. Hoodies come off if you have a shirt under them, otherwise expect extra screening.
    • I haven't seen/heard any "official" ruling of it, but typically, a person is allowed 3 chances to go through a metal detector before TSA requires a pat down / wand search. YMMV.
    • If you're packing some battery operated device, turn the batteries around backward if you want to make sure it doesn't turn on accidentally


    Rule 8: US DOT

    The US Department of Transportation produces monthly reports which are good to have a look at once: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/ . This is useful to find out things like...
    • Hawaiian and Southwest are the most on-time major US airlines
    • Atlanta flights are only on time 75% of the time (about 10% below the national average of major airports)
    • American Eagle cancels 1.2% of their flights (about twice the average of other airlines)
    • American Eagle is also one of the worst at mishandling luggage
    • American Eagle also oversells more flights than most other airlines
    • Delta gets the most complaints per passenger, next worst is United. Southwest gets the least.



    Anyway, I think that's most of what I wanted to post here. Hope this helps some of you.
    Last edited by eski; 11/15/2009 at 1:32 am.

  2. #2
    Holy shit I rule! Paradox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Age
    28
    Posts
    7,537
    Points
    26 (0 Banked)
    i travel a decent amount also and still haven't signed up for any miles programs. maybe i should do that.
    Latest 3 Flickr uploads:


    Gouranga's flickr sig generator

  3. #3
    Someone posts A LOT
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    2,231
    Points
    14 (0 Banked)
    Really helpful, thanks. If you don't mind me asking, what do you do that has you traveling so much?

  4. #4
    I have lots of Seniority
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    mile high clubhouse
    Age
    32
    Posts
    22,193
    Points
    1,024 (26,499 Banked)
    i work as a technical specialist / sales engineer traveling around and setting up custom demos, giving presentations, explaining how our product(s) work (from a technical perspective), answering general questions, etc. all in all, i fly ~100,000-150,000 miles / yr

  5. #5
    Wanta-be MOD reaper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    bay area
    Age
    30
    Posts
    1,900
    Points
    7 (0 Banked)
    cool. solid advice. thanks.

    also, i dont know if it was just the santa barbara airport, but they told me that i no longer have to take my laptop out of the bag unless there is a power cord in the same bag

  6. #6
    I have lots of Seniority
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    mile high clubhouse
    Age
    32
    Posts
    22,193
    Points
    1,024 (26,499 Banked)
    Quote Originally Posted by reaper View Post
    cool. solid advice. thanks.

    also, i dont know if it was just the santa barbara airport, but they told me that i no longer have to take my laptop out of the bag unless there is a power cord in the same bag
    that was just some tsa screener at SB who didnt know or didnt care about the "official rules." technically, there are "tsa friendly" laptop bags, samples of which you can see here. but i've found that (depending on which airport you fly out of and which TSA agent you get), about 30-40% of the time, they don't honor those, and still make you take your laptop out. thats why i haven't bothered purchasing one

  7. #7
    Master of Posting Mechant's Avatar
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    9,839
    Points
    104 (1,985,704 Banked)
    Nice info. Most of it is typical and something you learn about as you travel a lot but there are a lot of small little nuances that I greatly appreciate. Thanks for the awesome post.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Mass
    Age
    31
    Posts
    20,257
    Points
    165 (0 Banked)
    your input: if a Southwest trip from MHT to LAS is $350 right now for a trip March 2010, would you expect the price to go up or down? I flew MHT to LAS for $250 last time on Southwest and I'm wondering if I cut my losses and book it now or try to wait it out.

  9. #9
    Master of Posting Mechant's Avatar
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    9,839
    Points
    104 (1,985,704 Banked)
    Quote Originally Posted by bgwin View Post
    your input: if a Southwest trip from MHT to LAS is $350 right now for a trip March 2010, would you expect the price to go up or down? I flew MHT to LAS for $250 last time on Southwest and I'm wondering if I cut my losses and book it now or try to wait it out.
    My best recommendation would be to wait for the time being. It's great that you're really thinking ahead and all but airline tickets do fluctuate a lot. I generally buy domestic flights one or two months in advance, probably closer to 1 month. International flights, much earlier.

    You should look into taking two one way tickets as well. I did that last time I went to New York City and saved over $80.

  10. #10
    I'm starting to post Vortex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    socal
    Age
    31
    Posts
    151
    Points
    0 (0 Banked)
    Any suggestions for fear of flying? I haven't flown in 13 years, and my buddies invited me to Europe this coming summer. Normally I wouldn't even consider it, but I really want to make an honest effort to try and go. It's time.

  11. #11
    I have lots of Seniority
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    mile high clubhouse
    Age
    32
    Posts
    22,193
    Points
    1,024 (26,499 Banked)
    Quote Originally Posted by bgwin View Post
    your input: if a Southwest trip from MHT to LAS is $350 right now for a trip March 2010, would you expect the price to go up or down? I flew MHT to LAS for $250 last time on Southwest and I'm wondering if I cut my losses and book it now or try to wait it out.
    i dont know how southwest prices stuff, but i imagine it wont get any more expensive for a while. i'd wait at least a little bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vortex View Post
    Any suggestions for fear of flying? I haven't flown in 13 years, and my buddies invited me to Europe this coming summer. Normally I wouldn't even consider it, but I really want to make an honest effort to try and go. It's time.
    i cant say this is something i deal with. maybe somebody else could speak to this, but i usually keep in mind that flying is far safer than driving. oddly enough, one of my coworkers, who does the same thing as i, also is afraid of flying! i know he usually gets drunk before he gets on a plane and he says it makes it seem "almost fun." but if youre going to europe, you dont want to try to be drunk the entire time...

  12. #12
    Posting Whore
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Age
    29
    Posts
    456
    Points
    9 (0 Banked)
    Quote Originally Posted by eski View Post
    Hey everybody, as I've mentioned before, I travel a lot. As such, I've got a fair bit of experience with airlines, frequent flier programs, etc, and I'd like to impart some of my experiences here. There's probably nothing here that you couldn't find on another site, but I figured I'd post some information here for you. Questions, comments, and your experiences are certainly welcome here as well.

    Rule 1: Always make sure to have a frequent flier account with a partner airline before you fly any airline

    The 3 global alliances are
    • SkyTeam
    • Star Alliance
    • Oneworld


    Additionally, in the US, the three biggest are:
    • Rapid Rewards (Southwest)
    • A+ Rewards (AirTrain)
    • Elevate (Virgin America)


    You can enroll for all of them online for free. Generally (in the US), it makes sense to sign up for:

    Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is available for Alaska Airlines passengers, but Alaska has agreements with Delta and American Airlines, so your miles can transfer to either of those (which are larger) at 1:1, so I usually recommend doing so.

    Also, dedicate some e-mail account to receive all of their e-mail communications, even if you don't read them. In gmail, you can just filter them all into an archive. the reason for receiving all communications is that often airlines offer promotions, but only to the people who have signed up to receive those promotions via e-mail.

    Also, I find that a lot of people don't seem to know that airlines don't entirely order things like standby lists by when you check in. First, standby (and other) lists are ordered by status class (say, first all "platinum" members, then all "gold" members, then all "silver" members, then "general" members [even those with 0 miles in their account], THEN everybody else). Within each status class, these lists are ordered usually first by fare class of the ticket and then by the time you were added to the list. So even if you don't have any miles, if you're still a member of the program, you'll get ahead of other people.

    Rule 2: Pick your horse(s)

    If you fly mostly regionally, Southwest is probably the best bet (with only 8 round trips / 16 one-way trips, you get a free round trip ticket). But if you fly at least 15,000 miles in a year, it makes sense to try to do it as much as possible on a single alliance. Miles flown on USAir will count toward United and vice versa, depending on which you want to keep as your "primary account" for that alliance. After 25,000 miles on most airlines, you get to a "premier" status, which usually means:
    • No charge for checked luggage
    • You get to go through the "expert" security lines, which are a lot faster
    • You get to board the plane before most other people
    • You get more miles for every flight you take (typically a 25% bonus for the lowest premier level; 100% bonus for higher levels -- which means every mile you fly counts double)
    • Top of the list for standby flights and upgrades
    • Some free upgrades to first/business class seats
    • You get to check in at express check-in lines
    • Often, gate agents, flight attendants, and rebooking agents will just be nicer to you. I've had flights instances where a flight was canceled due to weather, which was the last flight of the day. Others on my flight were given half- to full-off hotel prices at the Days Inn, Best Western, etc (depending on their ticket fare). Some of them received meal vouchers. I received meal vouchers as well as a fully paid stay at the Sheraton (which was extra convenient, as I have status with Starwood hotels, so they upgraded me to a nicer room for the night).


    Rule 3a: Matrix ITA Software

    Log in as guest. This site is awesome. It searches virtually every airline (notable exception: Southwest) and lays out the the different ways to get somewhere, alerting you of long layovers, prop planes, overnight flights, etc. It gives a graphical display of all the flights by time.

    Rule 3b: Kayak

    This site searches Hotwire, airfare.com, Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline all at once (again, these search everything except Southwest)

    Rule 4: Check MileMaven before you book any flight

    About 50% of the time, you can earn at least twice the miles that you would otherwise earn. Sometimes, there are even triple mile promotions. This makes it a lot easier to get premier status or a free reward ticket. Make sure to sign up for the promotion BEFORE you purchase your trip, as often times you have to be registered before booking to get credit for the flight.

    Rule 5: Get a good seat

    Both SeatExpert and SeatGuru will show you which seats are good and which are bad on your upcoming flight, as well as locations of power ports, etc. If you've been assigned a shitty seat, you can usually change your seat online (with some airlines, before you check in, but some require check in to change your seat). Seat availability / rearrangements most often take place (and I often check) 3 days before the flight, 2 days before the flight, 1 day before the flight, then every hour before the flight until I get a good seat.

    Once you're in the airport and your gate becomes available, you can ask them to put you on a list for seat change if you have something like a middle seat, but this is far less reliable and depends on who doesn't show up, who gets upgraded out of your cabin, who is in standby, and how the gate agent is feeling at the time. Usually the gate agent is pissed off.

    With Southwest, your seating group depends on how early you check in, which you can do up to 24 hours ahead of the flight. If you wait until 2 hours before the flight to check in, you'll get a shitty seat like C30. If you check in 23 hours before the flight, you'll get a good seat like A20.

    Rule 6: Connecting flights suck. Be prepared

    If you're connecting through Chicago ORD or New York JFK and you only leave 1 hour between your connections, the rule of thumb is that you are going to miss your connection. Even if you're smart about your connections, it's wise to sign up for text/e-mail notifications provided by every major airline. If your flight is delayed or canceled or has a gate change, you'll know before you even leave the airplane (you can also check the airline website on your mobile device).
    • If you're going to be really tight on time between making your connection, have a gate agent call the gate you're going to, to let them know you landed and you're going to get there. Sometimes, they'll be nice and hold the plane for you. Depending on the airport, they may also be able to help get you one of those golf-cart things to drive you to your gate, which I assure you is faster than your ability to run there with luggage in hand
    • If your connecting flight has already left or is canceled, call the reservation number of the airline immediately... before you even get off the plane, if possible! Tell them what happened and ask them to rebook you on the next available flight. Have your frequent flier number, ticket number, license, and potentially a credit card ready (you shouldn't have to pay, but they may use it for verification). They'll be able to get/guarantee you a ticket and you won't even have to wait in line. When it comes to cancellations, it's more first-come, first-serve, so every second counts when coming to your rebooking. Listing of airline phone numbers: http://www.tollfreeairline.com/
    • If you have a really long layover, recheck your gate information 1 hour before your connecting flight at the monitors. Also, as a general rule, for airports with international concourses, those concourses tend to be much nicer than domestic concourses, especially in terms of the quality of food.
    • Flights that leave/arrive earlier in the day are less likely to get delayed. Connections are no exception.


    Rule 7: Packing / Security for dummies

    I'm not going to go over the obvious (don't bring sharp objects or water to security, "3-1-1" etc) here -- you can look those up here. But, the things I see people frequently forget/miss:
    • Most airlines (other than southwest) offer some form of in-flight entertainment -- tv, movies, or music. Bring your own headphones! Airlines that do provide in-flight entertainment will also either give you headphones or sell them to you, but they're always garbage. Bring nice ones. I like passive headphones, because for most flights, they don't ask you to "turn them off" like they do active headphones and they're not as bulky. Shure makes a bunch of good ones.
    • This article describes the best ways to pack your luggage. I usually roll my clothes, which results in little to no wrinkling and also gives you more space to pack your clothes.
    • Put all your toiletries/liquids in a Zip-Lock bag when you pack, not when you get to the airport. I travel enough that I just have a second set of toiletries that I always leave in my travel bag, but no matter what, it's going to be faster to do this ahead of time. Remember, you have to take these out at security and you're going to piss other people off less if you don't take forever doing so.
    • When you look at your boarding pass, if you have the letters "SSSS" (Secondary Security Screening Selection) it means you're lucky enough to be selected for extra/special security screenings. Be prepared for security to take longer. You're more likely to get this if you book one way flights, pay with cash, book same-day flights, or if your name matches the name of somebody on the terrorist watch list.
    • If you're checking luggage, put ID tags on it and in it. Be able to remember at least 3 items in the bag as well as the shape, the color, the style of the bag, whether its hard or soft, etc.
    • I usually fly with a backpack as my "personal item" (which doesn't count toward your one allowed carry-on). Before I get to the airport, I take almost all the metal (keys, change, etc) in my pockets in this backpack. Then, once you get to security, you don't need to take much out.
    • Stack your bins when going through security if you want to be nice to the people behind you. By this, I mean, first take your laptop out (if you have one) and put it in bin #1. Then put bin #2 on your laptop (partially in bin #1) and put your other things in that bin. Don't put your carry-on/personal item on the table before the screening until you're up to the X-ray belt. This leaves more space for the other people without any real penalty to you. Once you get to the X-ray belt, put bin #2 on, then bin #1 on, then your personal item, then your carry-on. Make sure they all go in before you go through the metal detector.
    • Before the metal detector: Laptops come out of the bag. Jackets come off. Shoes come off. Hats come off. Belts with metal buckles come off, even if you know it won't set off the metal detector. Hoodies come off if you have a shirt under them, otherwise expect extra screening.
    • I haven't seen/heard any "official" ruling of it, but typically, a person is allowed 3 chances to go through a metal detector before TSA requires a pat down / wand search. YMMV.
    • If you're packing some battery operated device, turn the batteries around backward if you want to make sure it doesn't turn on accidentally


    Rule 8: US DOT

    The US Department of Transportation produces monthly reports which are good to have a look at once: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/ . This is useful to find out things like...
    • Hawaiian and Southwest are the most on-time major US airlines
    • Atlanta flights are only on time 75% of the time (about 10% below the national average of major airports)
    • American Eagle cancels 1.2% of their flights (about twice the average of other airlines)
    • American Eagle is also one of the worst at mishandling luggage
    • American Eagle also oversells more flights than most other airlines
    • Delta gets the most complaints per passenger, next worst is United. Southwest gets the least.



    Anyway, I think that's most of what I wanted to post here. Hope this helps some of you.
    Prices for flights would go up. Never seen one go down.

  13. #13
    I have lots of Seniority
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    mile high clubhouse
    Age
    32
    Posts
    22,193
    Points
    1,024 (26,499 Banked)
    Quote Originally Posted by iam8up View Post
    Prices for flights would go up. Never seen one go down.
    Prices for flights DO (quite frequently) drop. You're probably operating under a strict "supply and demand" mentality -- as the seats get bought up, supply drops, and therefore price should go up. But that's not entirely what happens. Southwest, like every airline, keeps a few different fare ranges. With Southwest, the lowest fare types are called their "wanna get away" fares. Granted, there are a limited number of those tickets, and ideally you want to get them before they sell out, but the price of those cheap tickets is NOT fixed! If they're selling very quickly, the prices go up. If they're not selling as quickly as the airlines expected, the prices go down.

    As it gets really close to the departure date, the airline may realize that they're not going to sell out the plane tickets, so they'll offer last minute discounts (sometimes the cheapest tickets they've offered) to try to get whatever they can out of the remaining seats.

    Even if prices go exactly as planned for an airline, they still change the prices as they go, both up and down. For example, the cheapest time to buy a plane ticket is traditionally Wednesday around midnight, and the most expensive time is over the weekend (starting Friday night). Purchasing flights 4 months in advance will, in general, NOT be cheaper than what may be available 1 month in advance or, often even 2 week or a few days in advance. Prices usually sort of start off "slightly above average" price (point a), then get less expensive (to point b), then get more expensive (to point c), then get a lot more expensive (to point d), then a few days before (at point e), if there are still seats, get much much much cheaper. There are variations within this still, but in general, that's sort of how it goes. The "best" points to buy are either point e or point b, but you run the risk of paying for point d in trying to pay for point e. Point b is the cheapest. There is no guaranteed way to tell when point b is going to happen, but in general, its something like a 3 weeks to 1 month before the flight.
    Last edited by eski; 12/26/2009 at 1:38 pm.

  14. #14
    havingaseriouslylooseanus
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    3,794
    Points
    5,181 (412,440 Banked)
    Just an FYI, I work for TSA so if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will answer the best I can.

  15. #15
    New Bitch rss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4
    Points
    0 (0 Banked)
    Good tips, thanks for posting.
    Last edited by rss; 5/11/2010 at 2:45 am.

  16. #16
    Clearly not a nigger gannon's Avatar
    Entense Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    A place
    Age
    30
    Posts
    4,135
    Points
    13 (461,367 Banked)
    Nice advice. And I worked for American Eagle for a few months a couple of years ago. I had no idea that the company as a whole was that bad. Since it is a subsidiary of American Airlines, do those little facts apply to them as well?

    XBL : REDACTED SINCE FORUMS IS OPEN WHICH IS STUPID -- STEAM :

  17. #17
    Bad-ass Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Age
    29
    Posts
    724
    Points
    16 (0 Banked)
    thanks for the information. i usually just go to bing.com and see when is the best time to buy tickets

  18. #18
    Elite Whore
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    NE
    Age
    28
    Posts
    1,794
    Points
    139 (0 Banked)
    Exactly what i needed, thanks much for making this thread. Trying to hit nebraska, nyc, seoul, hong kong and backwards for traveling this summer. Turning out to be even more expensive than what I expected and I'm sure these other sites will help.

  19. #19
    Someone posts A LOT zidane2006's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NYC
    Age
    29
    Posts
    2,673
    Points
    188 (0 Banked)
    This thread changed my life. Thank you!

  20. #20
    New Bitch R4YF1NKLE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Age
    30
    Posts
    11
    Points
    0 (0 Banked)
    I'm traveling soon with 2 young children, a 3 yr old, and a 6 month old. do you have any idea what kind of, if any, accommodations most airlines have for children?
    Im not real pumped to be "That Guy" with the baby, and im a little concerned about how they will travel.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •