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Booking flights

Miami, Florida
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176 posts
45 reviews
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Booking flights

How far in advance is it recommended to book a flight to Alaska? I don't want to book just yet because I've already spent a fortune reserving things and I'd love to wait a while. But I've also never had to deal with a destination where you had to book everything so far in advance. So I was wondering what advice anyone has on this.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
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6,305 posts
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1. Re: Booking flights

When do you plan to go? From where? One way or return?

Miami, Florida
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176 posts
45 reviews
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2. Re: Booking flights

Flying from Miami to Anchorage in late June, returning mid July

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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15,477 posts
28 reviews
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3. Re: Booking flights

The sooner you book your flights, the sooner you can lock in your car rental rate. As you already know, car rental rates have already gone through the roof.

So even if you buy your airline tickets now and the price goes down later by $100, you probably saved more than that $100 in your car rental.

Check sites like farecompare.com and farecast.com for what a "good" airfare is for your cities.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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8,150 posts
38 reviews
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4. Re: Booking flights

On any expensive (over $500) ticket that I buy, I start looking at pricing as soon as they become available (generally 331 days out). Once I get a feel for the trend, and if the price hits a point where I'm comfortable paying based on past experience or what I expect to see happen, I book.

Case in point, I'm going to Hawaii in April. I started looking in June. Pricing was up as high as $1,000 and low as $800 over the course of about two or three months. When it went back down to $830 I bought because to risk paying more than $900 wasn't worth "maybe" saving another $50.

I've checked back with that carrier from time to time, and it's never been lower than I paid . . . and most recently was over $1,100 . . . with it pretty much hanging right around $1,000.

Alaska will be an expensive ticket no doubt, so figuring out how low you think it will go and then buying is your best bet . . . unless of course you found a way to cash in on FF miles and get a free ticket.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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3,114 posts
208 reviews
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5. Re: Booking flights

It's a gamble. You never know what the airlines will do. You can go on a site like Fare Compare and see what the price ranges were for the year before. However, it doesn't mean that the trends will be the same this year. From my experience, I can tell you that I watched prices pretty carefully from DTW to Vancouver and from Anchorage to DTW for 2008. I bought in the fall of 2007. The lowest prices I noticed were in March of 2008, but the difference was slight. As mentioned above, I watched the prices. They went as high as $1200. When they dropped to the low $600s I booked. They continued to go up and down.

New England
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1,683 posts
258 reviews
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6. Re: Booking flights

I actually booked my flights before anything else because I was using frequent flyer miles. When I do book and pay for tickets I always sign up on yapta.com for their fare watcher. The site will track rates before you purchase and then once you purchase you can add your info and if the price drops enough to warrant a refund you will be notified. Paying for tickets is always a gamble but when traveling during peak times I always find it better to book as far in advance as possible.

7. Re: Booking flights

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