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Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Appleton, WI
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Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

So we are getting closer to being just over 1 yr + to our scheduled 20th Wedding Anniversary July 2014 safari. I have been camping out on various airline search websites to get a general idea of international airfare from Chicago to JRO. Turkish is always the cheapest but find their early arrivals to be less than desirable but doable for the savings over say KLM. Would love to experience the service of Emirates or Qatar but with the 2 of us, it appears to be price prohibitive.

What I am asking today is for advice on whether to book immediately when our last travel date passes the magical 331 waiting period for airline bookings or should we wait a little while longer to acquire better pricing? From some initial tests it appears hit or miss to really cheaper immediately to savings of about $300 more a ticket for some dates if you want another 30 days. Based on your own experience what were your findings and proximity to your travel dates that you locked in on? Right now rates can range from $1200 to $1800 for 2014 (mid-May to June) from what I can use for testing.

I know if we do Turkish I might as well factor in at min 1+ night lodging inbound + 1 day room outbound to my price comparison or even another full day lodging because of early am departure time. To complicate it more we are thinking of getting off for a 3-4 day stop in Europe (Venice or Paris) or Istanbul for those days homeward bound. Those stops can add about $200-$500 more but might be worth it to us. If Turkish Airline had a clue they would arrive around 8 or 10pm as KLM does and for that price would lock up in my opinion a greater mkt share of the North America traveler than they have. Darn it Turkish, change your flight schedule already for 2014 would you.

I do know that with the migration and our travel dates from mid-July to early Aug this is a very popular time so not sure I want to really wait too long and miss the limited "cheap seats" for our dates on either airline option. I also have the itch to get this booked and want it in the bag cause the project planner in me can't stand sitting idle on my "to do list"

Thanks Brazoo

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1. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

The price variations can really be different depending on your originating country. US and Canadian prices and options vary greatly, so consider that when you get feedback.

That all being said, we have learned that KLM prices tend to go up as closer to time.

Have you signed up for email alerts for KLM and Ethiopian? They will email you seat sale notifications.

However, after being planning for so long, why not check the prices at 330 days out and if you can live with it, then book it. KLM won't save you much on a sale to JRO (at least not from Canada) so it might not be worth the stress for perhaps $200.

Appleton, WI
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2. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Great points Quiltingmamma for consideration. I don't expect many sales for this particular time period of yr. It just appears that everyone is in such a hurry to lock in at the 331 mark that airlines might take advantage of this feeding frenzy (not offering their best price for those that don't do their homework) and then back off that higher price some 30-60 days after offering a price break of a few hundred off as I have personally witnessed a few time. Then again Turkish at one time using Feb dates was under $1000 rnd trip on same flights just that time of yr. Saw that about 60 days ago.

When I recently took Turkish + adding in 2 extra nights at African Tulip prices and compared to KLM + 1 day room for way out it was still like a $500 savings on Turkish. The questions is whether $500 is worth the hassle for sub-optimal flight times in and out of Tanzania in addition to getting your tour operator to pick and drop you off.

Edited: 3:43 pm, July 15, 2013
Findlay, Ohio
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3. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

July is high season with prices, both to get here and while you are there, to match. Of course being high season those flights fill up, so there probably won't be all that much of a price drop on any of them.

nyc
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4. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

While most airlines don't list their schedules/fares till 330/1 days prior... it's mostly for those traveler who wish to use FF miiles for award tickets that this benefits. For the rest of us who have to pay, the fares are often highest when first published... so I wouldn't be hung up on this.

The Turkish Air fares are tempting, but have those negatives and unless you plan the day of arrival at some ungodly hour in the morning, the rest of that day should be to recuperate and maybe delayed luggage. And it does seem you're aware of the extra hotel fees for early arrival and departures.

I've sometimes booked as close as 2.5/weeks prior travel and gotten excellent fares on KL. So it comes down to a matter of watching and having an idea of how much you're willing to pay. Then when you see it...

buy! Bearing in mind though if wishing to be in TNZ for June/July... I wouldn't hold off later than end-Sep '13.

Though I haven't used Qatar or Emirates, many manage to find competitive fares; Qatar stops in DAR first before JRO and the reverse I believe homebound; and if Emirates only to NBO or DAR with need of another flight to JRO.

Good luck!

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5. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

In all my travels I can honestly say I have never flinched from getting the tickets as soon as they are available. My golden rule is get em, pay for em and file them as a done deal. Then remember Lot's wife and never look back! Then you have no hang ups on whether if you had waited til there was an "R" in the month that coincided with the new moon and a flood tide you might have saved 85cents. Does it really matter if Capone Airways shaved $50 off for repeat customers.

As to the Turkish timings. These are because they work well in Europe.

Two things to stir in the pot. The savings are substantial. $500 is more than it will cost you to buy a bed for the night even at KIA on your arrival.15 minutes from Immigration to bed..

They will do a free layover with Hotel and city tour in IST if flights don't coincide.

For your proposed layover you may find IST to be fascinating. I did!

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

I love Istanbul, so adding some time there would certainly sway me toward Turkish. And I agree with the other posters, I doubt that the difference in price will be so great that you'll benefit by waiting. It *might* go down, but more than likely it *will* go up closer to the date if you try to time it for last-minute bargains. If the price is right, buy and, yep, don't look back. If you're lucky, it will be closer to the $1,200 mark and then you'll know you did fine. Good luck!

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Green Bay, WI
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7. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Noticed that your avatar indicates that you live in Appleton. We are just north of you in De Pere.

When we booked our flight to Dar Es Salaam in March for our safari the end of August we had many debates on the various airlines.

We finally chose Turkish Airlines and the savings even though the arrival and departure time required us to book an extra night on our arrival and a day room on our departure day.

We thought the extra time in Dar would be fine as it 1) Reduced any jet lag symptoms and 2) Provided some buffer time in case there were any snafus related to the air travel.

We are hoping to use that extra day in Dar to see some of the sites in the city.

Old Moshi...
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8. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

If you are going for budget, you might check the difference in price between flying into JRO (Kilimanjaro Airport) and NBO (Nairobi Airport). The shuttle from Nairobi to Arusha/Moshi is fairly comfortable and you can sometimes get a good connection, only half hour between landing and boarding the shuttle. Saved me hundreds in the past.

Let us know if you find any great deals in your search!

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Pasco, Washington
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9. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

I got mine soon after they were available for purchase. I didn't want to spend my time checking the sites and worrying about it. (I went KLM, with a stop in MSP). Then it was done and I could move on. For the price difference you might just do a direct via AMS on KLM. Then you don't have overnights which might make up the price difference anyhow.

Appleton, WI
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10. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Depere - I work in Appleton but live out in New London actually. Have to tell me what you thought of Turkish Airlines when you get back from your Aug trip. I can't book for my specific dates until around Sept 13th according to my calculations. I was building in about 2 days buffer into the front end of the trip for any snafus as well so as to not miss the beginning our our booked Safari. I booked this out like 8 months ago already for 2014 and just need the flights.

Are you driving down to O'Hare or flying?. I hate that airport with a passion for all the delays, etc but I guess with a summer departure we are less likely to be delayed. I prefer to fly from GRB or ATW down and catch the international flight but the code share on NWA or United really takes it to you for that 1 hr puddle jumper costing from $600-$800 more on our ticket prices. To bad SWA didn't fly that 1 hr route for $60 one -way, would be so worth it and I bet they would get a ton of business travelers like me going to Twin Cities or down to Chicago on those routes. I guess we hit the 4 hr road trip and park and fly from Chicago.