Prices climbing, do I buy now or keep waiting?

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by CeruleanMoon, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. msjprincess

    msjprincess DIS Veteran

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    We're a family of 5 and we fly SWA almost exclusively. I never bother with EBCI except when we're coming back from a cruise because I won't be able to check in 24 hours before. This past summer was the first time that all 5 of us couldn't find a seat together. Even then we were able to sit 3 and 2. If you're worried about it, purchase EBCI and go straight to the back of the plane when boarding.

    I know people say to wait to buy air, but a lot of that depends on the route and time of year. There have been times where fares dropped a little as I got closer to the trip. Most times though I've watched fares go up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  2. mousestruck

    mousestruck DIS Veteran

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    We love SWA and have flown them many times with great experiences. My family has never been separated, even when I forgot to check in at the 24 hour mark and boarded late. If you purchase EBCI you will almost certainly have no problem sitting together. The flexibility and free luggage are wonderful.
     
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  4. CeruleanMoon

    CeruleanMoon Mouseketeer

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    I'm not up on all the acronyms. What's EBCI?
     
  5. sponica

    sponica Mouseketeer

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    @CeruleanMoon EBCI is early bird check in, it automatically checks you in at the 24 hr mark (good for us forgetful people)....your chances of getting A group boarding are much higher. Honestly I've been in B group and still managed to get a seat with my traveling partner. It's the C group that has the worst chances of being seated together.

    ETA: Look at this whole experience as one big learning exercise for when to buy airfare. Buy the tickets at the HIGHEST price you can justify paying, because that's the best price FOR YOU. Everyone's threshold is different. The "best" price for me is probably not the best price for you. I hope you managed to get tickets!
     
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  6. msjprincess

    msjprincess DIS Veteran

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    Sorry. Early Bird Check In. You pay $15 pp each way and you get checked in before the public has access at the 24 hour mark.
     
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  7. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Early Bird Check In automatically checks you in at the 36 hour mark, which is before the general public can check in at the 24 hour mark. So not only does it check you in before everyone else, but it ensures that your boarding position WILL be higher than those who have not purchased it. It also checks you in automatically so you don't have to remember to do it yourself. As mentioned, its $15 per person each way. DH and I always purchase this when we fly Southwest, which is frequently, and we have never NOT been able to sit together. We usually have our choice of seats as well. Just last weekend, we flew SW and had high A boarding positions and got the bulkhead seat. We did see a young family that were in the last 5 people on the plane and there were not seats together - it was clear they either did not purchase EBCI, did not check in at 24 hours, or maybe changed their flight last minute. The flight attendant assisted them in finding two seats together. So, IMO, if you purchase EBCI then you're pretty much guaranteed to get at least two seats together.
     
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  8. CeruleanMoon

    CeruleanMoon Mouseketeer

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    Well, I have learned a lot already from this experience. It won't all help me as much for this trip, but at least I know how to save money for future trips! Rule number one I have learned is that the day of the week that you fly in and out makes a HUGE difference in price!! If I had realized that, I might have planned my trip around flight fares and dates rather than the other way around. Rule number two is that the airport you fly out of also makes a HUGE difference in price. As much as $1000 or more! The nearest airport to us wants over $900 a ticket, the one 2 hours away is charging $570 a ticket...and get this, an airport 5.5 hrs away is charging $333 a ticket. All of these are round trip, non-stop flights. I think from now on, I will combine any future Orlando trips with a visit to my parents, since they leave near the cheapest airport! If we had known that for this trip, I could have saved us almost $2000 on airfare, compared to the closest airport. Insane.

    Thank you everyone for all your advice on airlines, when to buy, etc. I won't rule out Southwest altogether, but will probably stick with JetBlue for this trip. I'm glad I know about Early Bird Check in, and boarding groups and whatnot. Early Bird sounds like a good deal to get more peace of mind. I see Southwest has different fare categories to consider as well. Does Group A mean you are boarding first, with first pick of seats? I see Business Select offers that. How is that different from EBCI?
     
  9. 1911

    1911 Mouseketeer

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    often times when flying out of a smaller regional airport the connecting flights cost way more than the destination flight.Thats why we drive 4 hours to get to a major airport and pay to park.
    edit: I will add that trying to find a decent flight at a good price and trying to coordinate with vacation dates and resort availability can feel like a full time job at times.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  10. sponica

    sponica Mouseketeer

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    Business select is a fare type (most expensive fare compared to wanna get away and anytime), however they must not sell all those fares because at the gate you can usually upgrade your position to boarding position A1-A15 and get the first pick of seats. Group A boards the plane first (it's 60 people max, less if they didn't sell all the business select positions).
     
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  11. CeruleanMoon

    CeruleanMoon Mouseketeer

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    Ok, thank you! This is helpful to know.
     
  12. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    As PP mentions, business select is just a fare class and is usually significantly more expensive than the Wanna Get Away fare class which is what most people book. I *think* business select may be refundable, and its guaranteed an A1-15 boarding position. If you book a Wanna Get Away fare, you will be assigned a boarding position A16-60, B1-60 or C1-60. If you purchase EBCI, you will be checked in automatically at the 36 hour mark and be assigned one of those boarding positions in chronological order. Anyone who does NOT purchase EBCI can check in at the 24 hour (or later) mark and will be assigned a boarding position after the the EBCI people.
     
  13. CeruleanMoon

    CeruleanMoon Mouseketeer

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    So the downside of Wanna Get Away is that it is nonrefundable? So if something were to happen and you canceled your trip, you'd be out the money and would have to buy them again when you decided to reschedule your trip? I assume if you have trip insurance, the insurance co. would be the ones refunding you the money instead?

    Sorry for so many questions! Everyone has been very helpful. I'm a feel like a flight newb.
     
  14. sponica

    sponica Mouseketeer

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    From the website: Fares are nonrefundable but may be applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines for the originally ticketed passenger only.

    So you won't get your money back, but you have a year from purchase to use the funds that SW keeps (I think, I honestly haven't had to do that)
     
  15. CeruleanMoon

    CeruleanMoon Mouseketeer

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    Ok, good to know. I'll be so much more prepared next time I fly that I know all this!
     
  16. sponica

    sponica Mouseketeer

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    That's the spirit! One big learning experience! Really we only learn by doing...

    Really once you see that "Welcome to Walt Disney World" sign you really won't care about how much you paid for airfare or where the seats on the plane were or anything like that.
     
  17. tabrizia

    tabrizia DIS Veteran

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    It looks like you've already booked, but I'll throw in my vote on SouthWest if you can find a good price next time you fly. I normally fly solo with my 3 minions at least 2 to 3 times a year (4 to 6 flights). I have never had an issue getting seats together. Now mine are older it isn't as big of a deal if the older two are a few rows away, but honestly they always end up the row behind me and my youngest. I also almost never buy the early check in, I think I've done it once just because of timing.

    They will ask people to move if someone with a young child boards when there are no more seats together. Generally it isn't an issue since if you have a child that age you will be doing family boarding anyways. I have actually had as more issues with non-SouthWest flights and having to get seats changed when my minions were smaller so we could sit together. Airlines can move you even after you have reserved your seats, I ended up with my then 3 year old set to sit 8 rows away from me once on a Delta flight, that was fun to correct.

    SouthWest without assigned seats seems far more intimidating then it really is. I honestly chose SouthWest over most other airlines because it is so easy, I never have issues sitting with/near my minions and the checked luggage is such a nice benefit.
     
  18. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Most (all?) airlines are non-refundable, with the exception of some airlines that have higher fare classes that you can book which may be refundable. But those fares would be exorbitantly high and I can't think of a scenario where it makes sense to book that. You are right that if you have trip insurance and a circumstance occurs that falls under your policy coverage (and assuming your policy covers airfare), then they would be the ones to reimburse you.

    Southwest is actually one of the few airlines, maybe the only one, that does not impose a fee if you need to cancel or change your flight. As mentioned, you are issued a credit to use for one year from date of purchase. Its very easy to use the credit to book right through their web site. Most other airlines will hit you with a fee and deduct that from your credit if you need to change or cancel.
     
  19. glencoe

    glencoe DIS Veteran

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    AUGH-south west opened and it was a bit disappointing. Not great prices I was hoping and after watching the week before my trip which has been open, the prices were better then....I thought mid- august would start declining. $271 round trip pp. (6 people!)
     
  20. StageTek

    StageTek It's kind of fun to do the impossible.

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    I just flew JetBlue in January - LAX to MCO. I bought the ticket in July and then watched the prices right up to four hours before the flight.

    In mid-December the price from LAX went down $18 while the flight from MCO went up $21. 12 days before the flight all seats went up $40.
     
  21. CeruleanMoon

    CeruleanMoon Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for your help, everyone. I went and bought my tickets last night. I'm glad I did because the plane was almost full and the only seats I could get together were in the back! I did give Southwest one more look, but they were only $17 cheaper and the return flight would have gotten us in at 12:30am - with a 2.5 hour ride home ahead of us after that. So I went with JetBlue. This was one of the more stressful parts of my trip planning, so I'm glad it's done!!
     
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