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How far ahead to book?

Travel Forums Europe How far ahead to book?

1. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'm probably headed to Belfast in November, but can't quite figure out the best time to book my flight. I saw great prices published last fall for flights during the month of November - should I wait until November to book? Or are better prices offered way in advance?

I don't mind going through Dublin or London or whatever (just not a 6-day connection fiasco), but I don't want a repeat of the last time I went(where I booked two months ahead during peak season and had to drag that credit-card bill on throughout the summer).

Any hints, tips, experiences, advice?

2. Posted by scotsman (Respected Member 128 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hey, are going to be doing flights from Canada to Belfast. These guys are normally quite cheap and going direct to Belfast would be far easier.

3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks, Stuart!

It looks like they fly Toronto-Belfast until October (i'm leaving in November! Dang!!) - but that site has some fantastic prices for Montreal-London. Thank you! Air Canada would cost me an arm and half a leg - to go along with the other arm and half-leg it cost me the last tme...

Much, much appreciated!


4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Generally, I don't think you get much of a deal by booking way, way far in advance. Booking about 2 weeks in advance is your best bet - you get to see the current web specials for the airlines (usually only good for a month or two in advance) and you can still get an advanced purchase discount if there isn't a good web deal.

The rider to that is that certain class fares may be gone by then (for example Tango fares on Air Canada) which could be significant savings.

BTW, my manager just paid $CDN 600 for his Toronto-Paris ticket on Air France buying 7 days in advance (flying Thursday, returning Tuesday 10 days after). The next day when I went to purchase (flying Friday, returing Sunday 8 days after), Air France was up to $CDN 1400 and Air Canada was at $CDN 1200. (Good thing this was a business trip so somebody else was paying!)

It always seems a bit of crap shoot.

5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks, Greg!

I think the dicrepancy in price in your case may be due to leaving on the Friday - essentially the "weekend". But - who knows?

Yes, it is confusing. A crap shoot is the best possible definition! But the site Stuart mentioned has one-way fares at $200 CDN - so long as I can get to Toronto for a decent price (now that Jetsgo's gone...??).

Will travel out of North America ever be consistently affordable?

6. Posted by daveh (Travel Guru 1027 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I agree with Greg. I am looking at going to Asia next month and the prices have dropped a fair bit since last month. I'm sure airlines have the same pricing strategy wherever you are. The tickets a couple of months before are usually cheaper, but not so flexible if you want to change dates.

7. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks dave - I'll keep that in mind. You wouldn't happen to have an airline crystal ball, would you? That would really come in handy...

8. Posted by daveh (Travel Guru 1027 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

my crystal ball tells me that if you're going off season then 6-8 weeks is a good time to pick up a deal. My crystal ball also tells me that there are no guarantees you'll pick up a deal in this time. What i generally do is know in my head what is a good price, and phone a travel agent every week/every other week and when i find something i think is cheap i just go for it.