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question about huge ticket price jump

Charleston, South...
posts: 312
reviews: 4
question about huge ticket price jump

We have a trip planned for July and I have been religiously tracking the fares since this time last year. SInce I've been tracking prices for so long (and we made this trip year before last), I knew the rate that I was hoping to pay. I also knew that our flight was most likely going to require 2 plane changes.

Over the weekend, a flight appeared with only 1 plane change (yay!) both ways and a price that I was very happy with. I should have booked immediately, but I needed to run it by my husband and I also thought that maybe the price would drop a bit after the weekend. Big mistake...it went up from $599 per person to nearly $900.

My question is...since I'm looking so far out, do you think it will go back down to something more reasonable. The flights with multiple plane changes hardly jumped in price at all. I can't figure out why only this one did. Since I'm a newbie to airline travel, I didn't know if it was typical for a flight to make such a huge price jump after just "hitting the screen" as being available.

Thanks all!

UK
posts: 44,614
reviews: 89
1. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

<<but I needed to run it by my husband and I also thought that maybe the price would drop a bit after the weekend. Big mistake...it went up from $599 per person to nearly $900.>>

Yep, lot of people here wait for another few dollars drop and forget that prices can go up as well as down.

<<My question is...since I'm looking so far out, do you think it will go back down to something more reasonable.>>

No one here can possibly know especially since you don't even say where its from or to or at what time of year !!!! But no, no one knows anyway.

<<The flights with multiple plane changes hardly jumped in price at all. I can't figure out why only this one did>>

Why would you expect to be able to figure that out??? How would it help if you could??

Anyway, could be many factors. Might have been a pricing mistake, a special offer, matching a competitors offer, a dozen other things, whatever.

Likelihood is, there were just a few seats available at that price and the rest were always up at $900, but someone else who had also been tracking but had a purpose to their tracking bought when they saw a price they knew was good, right there and then. And I'm guessing, the airline reckons people will pay more for a routing with one change than two so they can hike up the one change route and leave the two as is. Or maybe its something else/

The thing about airline prices is that whist in some respects you might think they go up, and effectively they do, in one respect, they don't. The airline might have determined they had 4 seats at $500 and 10 seats at $800 and 20 at $1000. When the 4 seats at $500 are sold, the price is now $800. But in one way, the price didnt rise, those $800 seats were always there, and when those seats are sold, the price will "jump" to $1000.

The mantra here is buy when you see a price you like and don't look back. There is no point tracking a price if you arent prepared to jump right on it.

Having said all that, sometimes you do see a big jump, and then a big fall. And sometimes you dont :-)

How about you agree with hubby what a good price is and just buy straight away next time?

Charleston, South...
posts: 312
reviews: 4
2. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

Should, woulda, coulda I guess.

For the record, my purpose for tracking was "to buy", but I never expected to buy this early. It kind of caught me off guard to see something pop up within reason so far in advance. We were financially preparing for this big purchase to come a little later...hence the reason I felt the need to consult my spouse.

I certainly won't be consulting anyone if the prices do go back down. Another big confusion for me was that I had not noted any big price jumps with this route in the last year of my tracking. Up and down...yes, but not to this degree. Therefore, I wrongfully thought that I had a little leeway time before pulling the trigger. Oh well...live and learn.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 48,422
reviews: 15
3. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

For travel in July next year fares certainly could go down again; depending on the flights you plan I think it's too early to book for next summer in any event.

I flew to PHX last month. Fares in June were bouncing like particles in an accelerator, but overall higher than I wanted to pay. When they dropped for a few days in July, I booked and was happy to do so.

Depending on the airline(s) you'd like to book, their schedules may be in flux for summer next year, and as such fares will be fluid as well. Try the availability tool at www.flightstats.com to see if your flights are heavily booked now, as that could have an impact on what fares might do, but again depending on the airline, anything could happen.

Pacifica, California
Destination Expert
for Pacifica
posts: 5,989
reviews: 4
4. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

I'd wait. I've seen prices stay level for awhile, go up by 20% for a week or two, and then go back down to where they were previously.

No guarantees, though.

Edited: 10:10 pm, October 10, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
posts: 92
reviews: 193
5. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

I had a similar situation recently. Looking to by EDI -> MEL in november this year. Prices were around £1,250 on BA and then one day they were down to £900. Wow I thought, just what I wanted. But I waited, thinking, I will just take my time, ensure that I get the flight connections I wanted, hummed, harred etc etc and over night they went back up to £1,250.

Some searching around I found that there was a "special" for 1 week on Asia flights. Could have kicked myself....

Now I was VERY lucky as about 4 weeks later they had another special and the flights I wanted were on there, so I snapped them up as soon as I saw the price.....

In your case, they "might" come down but as others have said, there is nowhere that anyone knows of where airlines post when they are going to have sales. Sales in peak times (july) are rarer than others so you have less of a chance BUT they do sometimes come up.

The moral, if you see a price that is a great price, take it then and there....

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
posts: 9,533
reviews: 76
6. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

My advice is sort of like closing the barn door after the horses are out, but for future reference be aware that many airlines allow you to cancel a flight within 24 hours after you book it with no penalty. I usually fly Delta and have taken advantage of this a couple of times recently. After you confirm that the airline you are considering has this policy, you can go ahead and book the tickets, then consult your husband.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 7,417
reviews: 74
7. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

The mos important, best, most reliable way to get good airfares is, when you see a sale, buy the ticket. Don't wait. Sales often do not last long at all.

Northern New Jersey
posts: 366
reviews: 126
8. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

I think there could be a lot of price vacillation between now and then. So many external factors -- politics, fuel prices, destructive storms -- can affect things between now and then. But with July being peak vacation time, the overall price trend in the new year should be upward. My experience has been that by about March, summer pricing begins to hold firmer. Just my anecdotal experience.

What helps us in our house is to agree, in advance, on dates and pricing that we could live with. And then the person seeking the tickets knows they are free to commit on the spot, within those parameters. If you agree among yourselves on a price you can live with, and strike at that price, you can feel good about the result, even if somebody else may have gotten it cheaper.

Charleston, South...
posts: 312
reviews: 4
9. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

Just as an update...I called United airlines directly and inquired about the flight in question. The rate quoted by the agent was the same as the expensive one that was now listed online. She asked what price I had seen 2 days prior that I had hoped to book and she then put me on hold for about 10 minutes. Upon returning, she said that she could match the earlier lower price and she even offered to waive the $25 agent booking fee.

PS. This time, I booked immediately without consulting my hubby! :)

Canada
posts: 7,553
reviews: 27
10. Re: question about huge ticket price jump

Wow, floridascgirl...that is an amazing story

You really lucked out. It's an unusual remedy, but just goes to show you can hit the right agent at the right time....for best results.

Safe Travels.