In 2013 we expect airfares to continue to climb due to demand, but if you are not too selective on where you want to go, there are a lot of exciting cities you can get to at great prices.
In order to get the bestfares, you may have to use a little creativity in your routing and buy two tickets instead of one.
We’ve seen a lot of wild and crazy airfares and some of these are retaliation fares and others are specials on new routes. We’ve seen deals on flights all around the U.S. and to some international destinations. Just today, we found a roundtrip airfare from Washington DC to Istanbul, Turkey for as little as $409 roundtrip, including all taxes and fees!
By flying on the same flight, but on two different airline tickets, could reduce your travel costs by hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars. Many of you may have to make one stop or more to travel to your final destination, but it will be worth it. The amount of savings will depend on the time of the year you depart, and how many people are traveling in your party.
This technique of booking was something we introduced way back in 1982; when Best Fares was started. We called this method of booking airfares "split fares"; while some airlines frown upon this, it's perfectly legal. Sure you may have to do a little more work, but the savings can be well worth it!
For example, when we looked at roundtrip airfares from Dallas to London departing on June 11, and returning June 18, 2013; the roundtrip airfare was selling for $1,468. But, if you book a roundtrip flight from Dallas to Boston for $253 nonstop roundtrip. And also book a roundtrip ticket from Boston to London; the cheapest roundtrip airfare is $856, for a grand total of $1,139 vs. the $1,468 fare flying directly from Dallas. That is a savings of $329 per person, or a family of four could save $1,316 by splitting up the roundtrip ticket.
A second example we found was flying from Atlanta to Rome on June 4, and returning June 11, is currently selling for $1,658 roundtrip. From Atlanta, you can fly nonstop to New York's JFK airport for $258 roundtrip. Then you can continue on from JFK to Rome for only $628 roundtrip, for a total price of $886 roundtrip versus $1,658 per person. That is a savings of $772 per person, a family of four would save a whopping $3,088 roundtrip!
From Ft. Lauderdale to Dubai, departing on February 12, and returning February 19, 2013; the roundtrip airfare currently is $1,146 roundtrip. However, you could fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Washington DC (IAD) for $144 roundtrip. The cost to fly to Dubai / Abu Dhabi (AUH) from Washington DC is only $550 roundtrip or $694 total. You save $452 roundtrip, per person or $904 roundtrip, per couple.
Here is another great example, if you were to fly from Austin (AUS) to Istanbul, Turkey departing on April 10 and returning on April 17, 2013, it would cost you $1,102 roundtrip. Yet, you could fly from Austin to Houston for $128 roundtrip, and then continue on to Istanbul from there by buying a roundtrip ticket from Houston (IAH) to Istanbul for $609 roundtrip, for a grand total of $737 roundtrip versus the $1,102 you would spend to fly from Austin to Istanbul. You save $365 roundtrip or $730 per couple.
Flying on Delta from Minneapolis to Dusseldorf, Germany on May 21 and returning May 28, 2013; would cost you $1,471. The roundtrip airfare between Minneapolis to Chicago is only $178 roundtrip. Chicago to Dusseldorf is selling for only $719 roundtrip on Delta. Add that up, and the grand total comes to $897 versus $1,474; you save $579 roundtrip per person, or $1,154 per couple.
There have been some great fares from the West Coast to Hawaii, thanks to airline competition. Right now fares from Dallas to Maui or Kona are in the $700 to $800 range roundtrip, but if you fly out of Oakland or San Jose, California, we’ve seen $300 roundtrip fares to all four Hawaiian Islands.
I really like flying into Dusseldorf, Germany because it is not far from Cologne, Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam. We looked at flights from Dallas to Dusseldorf for travel May 21-28 and the cheapest roundtrip airfare was $1,327 roundtrip for one-stop service. From Chicago to Dusseldorf it was $695 roundtrip for nonstop flights and the current nonstop fare from Dallas to Chicago is $260. If you fly from Dallas you still have to make a stop anyway, so you may as well go through Chicago and save $372 per person or $744 per couple by buying two tickets.
It’s easy to get a flight to Houston or even to drive and we’ve been seeing some great fares from Houston to international destinations. We’ve seen fares for travel in April or May to Istanbul for $599 roundtrip and flights to Dubai for $703 roundtrip. Another hot international deal we’ve seen is $847 roundtrip from Washington (DC) to Johannesburg, South Africa.
One deal we’ve seen from Dallas is $650 fares to Istanbul for travel not during winter or spring, but for peak summer. At press time we found these cheap fares for departures on almost any Friday between July 26 and August 16, 2013.We think this a super hot airfare to Europe since the fuel surcharge alone is $516 to Europe. This could be the best bang for your buck for a family vacation getaway to Europe. You could fly in to Istanbul and hop over to many other destinations in Europe for under $250 and still get two cities cheaper than the price of one.
There are five cities we suggest looking at for cheap international tickets and those cities are New York, Newark, Boston, Washington (DC), Chicago and Miami. If you are going to Hawaii or Asia, look at California cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.
One thing I suggest when buying two tickets is leaving lots of time to make your connecting flight. Many airlines require a two hour check-in for international flights and you don’t want to arrive late. You may want to fly in the day before to make sure you have plenty of time to get to your flight. It’s also a great way to see more cities during your vacation and helps break up the trip.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you probably want to fly into the same airport that you are flying out of for your international flight because it can be an expensive and lengthy cab ride to get to another airport in the same city. We love Southwest, but the airline often flies to smaller airports that don’t offer many international flights. For example, Southwest flies into Houston Hobby and Chicago Midway, but not Bush Intercontinental or O’Hare where you see a lot of international flights depart from.
When it comes to summer travel, we will see most of the major airlines cut business fares to Europe and possibly Asia for travel beginning in late June and early July, because business travel drops during this time period. We could see these international business fares drop as much as 50 percent in the next month or two.
Back in the early 90's I bought two tickets to get a bargain price to Sydney, Australia. I flew from Dallas to New York then from New York to Sydney with a stop in Osaka. I wanted to fly in first class and the first class fare from Dallas to Sydney was well over $4,000 per person. Out of New York it was only $699 for business class and Northwest and American Express had a free upgrade from business to first class offer on flights to Asia and the South Pacific. The business class fare was so low because Northwest was having a problem with its flights from Osaka to Sydney because the Japanese government didn’t want the flights to have more than 50 percent Japanese travelers, so Northwest dropped the fare to make sure the flights had plenty of U.S. passengers.
When I did the math, it was going to cost me $1,400 for two first class tickets to fly from New York versus over $8,000 from New York, so I decided to visit the Big Apple. It is probably the longest trip I’ve ever taken at 23 hours one-way from New York, but at the same time it was probably the best trip I’ve ever taken because of the comfort and service.
When I was in Sydney, the airline called to tell me my return flight was delayed by 12 hours and asked if there was anything they could do for me before the return. I mentioned that I had not been able to find a stateside newspaper in the last three days and when I boarded my flight, I found USA Today papers for the last three days on my seat; and it shocked the Dickens out of me and exceeded all expectations.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in last 20 years is that many airlines that fly international have gone to two classes of service on the majority of routes. Delta and US Airways have done this on all flights and American and United have done it on many of their international flights.
Today there are some airlines with more than two classes, like British Airways who offers four classes of service on select flights, economy, premium economy, business and first, but most major airlines only have two classes of service, coach and business or coach and first. You can fly the exact same plane within the U.S. and if the flight continues on to an international destination, the name changes from first to business class, even though it’s the exact same aircraft.
Where we do see a big difference in cabins is on international routes like to Europe, Asia and deep South America. On these routes we see that most business class seats are 2x2 sleeper style seats with a ton of legroom. The last time I went to Europe in business class I couldn’t even touch the seat in front of me with my feet because of all of the legroom.
The next time you travel outside the 48 states, remember that two tickets can be cheaper than one. It may be a little more work to check fares, but the savings can be well worth it!
* As a side note, we warn you with caution when booking two separate roundtrip tickets. While we love the idea of these incredibly cheap airfares. And we ourselves have enjoyed many cheap vacations booking this way, we have also had some doozies of delays, and lost luggage fiascos.
We want to warn you off the potential pitfalls of this theory. We recommend that you try to book your domestic ticket with the same carrier that is flying you back and forth over international waters; that way if there is a delay and it is the airlines fault, they will help reaccomodate you.
Most of the time you are buying two tickets with two different carriers; and at the time thinking about the great price not the possible challenges. For example, if your first flight is delayed due to weather or mechanical problems; the second airline has no allegiance to rebook you at their expense. Their response will be that is not their fault you didn't make your departing flight on time and they will have no responsibility to re-book you on their tab; and you will be responsible for any penalties and re-booking fees, and airfare increase.
You could also be on the hook for incidental charges like hotels, cab ride, and food; if there is not another flight out that day or bad weather has closed the airport and you have to stay extra days. Of course this last part can be true about any trip you plan where there is an unexpected delay.
Another food for thought is if it is winter time and your cheap international flight departs out of Chicago. You may want to book your flight from your hometown to Chicago the day before; and book a one night hotel stay. This will give you an extra day to get to Chicago, just in case of winter weather delays in Chicago that cancel and delay flights across the nation. Same can be said for summer flights that connect through Florida, it is peak hurricane season during August; therefore you will to keep an eye on the weather before you board your plane from your hometown to Miami.
One thing you can do is to purchase trip insurance for all the flights. This will cover you for flight delays and rebooking fees. Most of these insurance companies require that you pay any rebooking fees, hotel costs, etc. and then they will reimburse you. Some insurance companies' cap the costs per day on food and hotel so don't go wild thinking that they are going to cover the full cost of you staying at The Ritz.
Also, before you leave your house make sure you have your cell phone charger with you, and maybe a small toiletries bag (in case of an overnight delay). You will also want to have a list of all the phone numbers to the hotel, car rental company, excursion company, etc. Even if you booked through a third-party- you still paid the airline directly for the ticket so dealing with direct can be best. Having a cell phone is key, that way you can notify them if you can't arrive on the day you planned. Think about possibly adding an international plan to your phone, or using Skype on your smart phone or computer to make international calls. If all else fails calling cards and a cheap throw away local cell phone can do the trick.
The hotel could possibly waive the penalties and still hold you room for arrival the next day, the car rental company can hold the car for you, the tour company can move your excursion to the following day, etc. The last thing you want to happen after a long trip full of delays is getting to the hotel only to find out they cancelled your room since you were a no-show the night before! (This is wise advice for any trip whether long, short, nonstop, around the world, or just down the street).
All of the above prices were based purchasing two separate roundtrip tickets; and paying for them on the same day. You will only get these cheap airfares by booking now (for summer travel, you can hold off on purchasing the domestic ticket until later when those fares go on sale, but you will want to purchase the international fare today, while it is still cheap); waiting months down the road until you arrive in the next city or connecting destination to book your next ticket will cost you hundreds of dollars more.
We also want to remind you of time changes and date of arrival. For example, if you depart from Dallas to London at 5 pm Central time, you will arrive the NEXT morning around 9 am local time for a nonstop flight. Therefore, you will need to plan your next connecting flight accordingly, departing late the next afternoon; this will allow yourself enough time to collect and re-check your luggage, to clear customs and immigration, and to check back in for your next flight and clear security again.
We know doing this can be a big time drain, but it is a lot better than your first flight leaving late and cutting your time short for a connection and you don't make it. Then you would have to stay overnight somewhere, because the airline you are flying with possibly only offers one flight a day; and you missed it, that would cut a whole day off your vacation time- thus being and even bigger time drain then giving up a few extra hours of breathing room between connections.
The last thing you want to do is miscalculate the time zone and book your connecting flight too early, and miss it altogether, better to have more time than not enough.
To book your cheap discount airfares and international flights online, please click here. However, with these complex arrangements you may want to call us at 1-800-576-2242 so that we can help you with the booking and make sure that you book everything for the correct days and allow yourself enough time.
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