Trip Coach: August 23, 2005 George Hobica: Hi, thanks for joining the airfare chat... I'm ready to take questions! Budget Travel Tuesday, Aug 23, 2005, 2:16 PM Budget Travel LLC, 2016
 

TRANSCRIPT

Trip Coach: August 23, 2005

George Hobica: Hi, thanks for joining the airfare chat... I'm ready to take questions!

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San Antonio, Texas: I have relatives in different parts of the country and overseas. What's the best way to get a good last-minute airfare if I should have to get to one of them in an emergency?

George Hobica: Usually, the best way to get last minute fares is through a consolidator. You can find their little ads in major newspaper travel sections on Sundays. Another good resource is Cheapflights at cheapflights.com which lists consolidators alongside regular published fares. You might also try sites like priceline.com and hotwire.com

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St. Croix, VI: We'll be leaving either from PHL or DCA to go to Zurich in mid-Dec, but probably not returning until Feb 2006. Could we use a chap package for air/hotel in Europe and just not use return flight? Would we get killed with return fare OW in Feb/Mar? Two seniors.

George Hobica: You are probably better off buying a consolidator fare that has a longer stay period rather than throwing away the return portion of a RT ticket and then buying a oneway back home

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Washington, NJ: We are planning an Alaskan cruise next summer (July 2006), when is the best time to purchase 4 roundtrip tickets from Newark to Seattle?

George Hobica: The best time to buy a fare from Newark to Seattle is the very moment that a hidden fare war breaks out, which I have seen happen on that route. Last year Northwest and Continental were having a "fare war" sale to Anchorage.. Northwest from Newark, a Continental hub, and Continental from Detroit and Minneapolis, Northwest's hubs.

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New Albany, IN: We have planned a cruise for Feb. 2006 and need a flight from Louisville, KY to Miami, FL. All the flights seem high right now. What is the best time to book this flight?

George Hobica: You have plenty of time to wait for a low fare, unless you're traveling over the school break periods, in which case that's why they're high. Airlines lower fares on certain routes every day without advertising these reductions--these are the kinds of hidden sales we cover on airfarewatchdog.com-- so check the fares every day and you might be surprised to see that it's suddenly gone way down for no apparent reason. Also, you might try flying into Ft. Lauderdale rather than Miami. Since Southwest Airlines covers that route, fares will be cheaper.

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Wilbraham, MA: Have you observed any pattern as to when Southwest opens their booking? Right now you can only book until Dec. 12. It has been this way for a while. They don't reveal when the rest of Dec. etc. will open. Is it done by "season" or some other pattern.

George Hobica: Southwest only publishes their fares up to a certain date; but truthfully their fares are always the same, and their sales are always the same. I would just wait until later in the fall before trying to figure out what fares will be after Dec 12 (you can be sure there'll be fewer discounted seats just before the holidays). And I'd sign up for their Ding fares at southwest.com/ding since they're often lower than other Southwest fares. They come delivered to your computer once or twice a day.

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Hennessey, Oklahoma: I need to get from Puerto Rico to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. What would be the least expensive way? About Nov. 5th to Nov. 12th? Thanks!!

George Hobica: There are several low cost airlines you might try, other than American Airlines; I'd try Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia and see what you get.

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Brighton, CO: Is Christmas day a good day to try to fly as a non-rev passenger from Houston to Paris on Continental Airlines?

George Hobica: I would say that's going to be one of the slowest days of the year on that route, so yes.

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Boston, MA: What is the best way to search for cheap airfare when your dates are extremely flexible? I want to travel to Zurich, Switzerland sometime this winter (anytime between Nov and March, their low-peak time) and care more about the price than about the exact dates. Most websites make you enter dates of travel (or only +/- 3 days on either end) when perhaps going the week before or the week after might save substantial amounts of money. What is a good way of finding the absolute best price on an airline ticket when the travel dates are extremely flexible? Thanks.

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