I am planning a four month trip to South America coming up in March 2009. About two weeks ago, I looked for a flight into San Jose, Costa Rica and out of Lima, Peru with four months in between. It was about $686, which is a little disappointing considering I paid $420 for a round trip to Spain in February of 2008. I realize the gas spike happened in between, but fuel prices are now LOWER than they were in February of 2008.
Today, I looked up the same flight and it has dropped to about $620. I am just curious if I should hold off on purchasing this flight in the hopes it will continue to drop.
Anyone that knows anything about airfare care to contribute? I would be much obliged.
I believe you're under the impression that all seats in economy are priced the same? They are definitely not. No person on earth really understands an airline's fare calculation ( a mixture of supply and demand, fuel costs, third party fees, taxes, etc.).
Under the current economic forecast, one would think demand is way down, and therefore prices would also be down, but it's much more complicated. Most airlines have cut capacity to save money, many routes have been eliminated, and an airline cannot cut it's prices too drastically, or it will fail. One has to take several factors into consideration. At this time before the holidays, demand is up, and normally the first break in prices would occur after Jan 1st. If sales do not also rise, another bigger/better sale would normally happen. This year will be different, and even the experts are not totally sure how it will all come out in the wash. It's one big gamble, and I wish it were not so!
I agree with Johnny, prices are a crap shoot. I should know, I made my living in the casinos! Fuel prices are down from this summer, but airlines buy contracts many months in the future. They may be paying the older, higher prices due to contracts and hedging.
If I had to bet, I think airfares will soften from now until summer. The recession is not over and fewer people are flying. That should result in lower airfares. But, if that airline reduced the amount of seats between those cities, the fares may not have come down. Like Johnny said, it is more complicated than most of us realize.
I would keep checking various search engines. Try momondo, kayak, cfares, airfarewatchdog, priceline, etc. Change your departure date/time, return date/time and see if you can come up with an airfare you like. Good Luck.
The signals I'm seeing definitely don't indicate prices coming down much, if at all. A company I work with here in Norway buys about 300 long haul flights a year, so that's my (only) insight. Flights have been slashed to the bone here in Europe, and I'd be surprised if other airlines are keeping flights in place that aren't at least 75% full. A lot of airlines are right on the edge of collapse, so they certainly won't be lowering prices just for kicks
That said, it's a weird weird business and you can find amazing deals from one week to the next. But if you find a price within your level of comfort I'd probably just go with it rather than see it continue to rise all the way up until your intended departure
Hey guys, just wanted to respond.
Fare has dropped to $605, so it is going lower. Will buy in about two weeks regardless. Thanks for the input. I know there are a lot of factors, but everyone complains it is fuel in the news, and with fuel so cheap right now, I was hoping to save an extra $100. Still, the price is $81 cheaper than a month ago. So I am not complaining too much.
I've spent much of the day looking for flights to Belfast/Dublin for May, and I'm finding rediculous prices--upwards of $1,000 Canadian apiece. I've done the route of all the cheap and discounted sites, but still there's no give anywhere. Guess I'll keep looking, but my 2 cents is that airfare isn't going to go down as much as we'd like.
Sam, not to dispute, because you are much more in the know than me...But Norway is one of the most expensive places on the planet. I would have to guess it is tough to get a gauge from there.
That said, my usual trick of just hitting my two favourite flight sites over and over had not been paying off very well, of late...Usually I just pound and pound on Expedia and Travelocity until something shows up that is WAAYYYY lower than everything else, and grab it...I have had success, but it is lessened to SORTA lower than everything else.
Businesses always go for what the market will bear....THe market bore the increased cost of the fuel in 2008....The airlines won't let that windfall just blow in the wind...