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Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Appleton, WI
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Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

So we are getting closer to being just over 1 yr + to our scheduled 20th Wedding Anniversary July 2014 safari. I have been camping out on various airline search websites to get a general idea of international airfare from Chicago to JRO. Turkish is always the cheapest but find their early arrivals to be less than desirable but doable for the savings over say KLM. Would love to experience the service of Emirates or Qatar but with the 2 of us, it appears to be price prohibitive.

What I am asking today is for advice on whether to book immediately when our last travel date passes the magical 331 waiting period for airline bookings or should we wait a little while longer to acquire better pricing? From some initial tests it appears hit or miss to really cheaper immediately to savings of about $300 more a ticket for some dates if you want another 30 days. Based on your own experience what were your findings and proximity to your travel dates that you locked in on? Right now rates can range from $1200 to $1800 for 2014 (mid-May to June) from what I can use for testing.

I know if we do Turkish I might as well factor in at min 1+ night lodging inbound + 1 day room outbound to my price comparison or even another full day lodging because of early am departure time. To complicate it more we are thinking of getting off for a 3-4 day stop in Europe (Venice or Paris) or Istanbul for those days homeward bound. Those stops can add about $200-$500 more but might be worth it to us. If Turkish Airline had a clue they would arrive around 8 or 10pm as KLM does and for that price would lock up in my opinion a greater mkt share of the North America traveler than they have. Darn it Turkish, change your flight schedule already for 2014 would you.

I do know that with the migration and our travel dates from mid-July to early Aug this is a very popular time so not sure I want to really wait too long and miss the limited "cheap seats" for our dates on either airline option. I also have the itch to get this booked and want it in the bag cause the project planner in me can't stand sitting idle on my "to do list"

Thanks Brazoo

Coquitlam, Canada
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41. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

My two cents worth.....I have usually always booked direct with the airline when we fly as I find that to be the cheapest, but with this trip and a few others I went through Flight Centre and got a better deal. When I first staring looking at flights for our trip to Tanzania in October I found a price of $1600 for Vancouver to Amsterdam then JRO, this was in April. I thought that seemed rather good, so stared researching safari plans.

By the time I could get my husband to make up his mind to go(three weeks later!) the flight prices online were $2300! I was really hoping to find a bit better price and we now had decided that we wanted an open jaw ticket I thought I would try Flight Center. After many days of searching and playing with dates, the agent we were working with managed to get the tickets for $2100. Not a huge savings, but managed to book the ticket flying into JRO and out of DAR and we added an extra day in Amsterdam on the way home. Not always, but sometimes in can be worth it to go to a place like Flight Centre to see what options they can find for you.

Appleton, WI
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187 posts
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42. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Funny, I have been studying KLM's site for months and if your book from Chicago to JRO before May 15th 2014 you can get a ticket for about $1378 - anything May 16th and beyond hold on to your seats cause same route going for nearly $500 more or just over $1900+ as you move closer to my end of July 2014 travel dates. As the days continue to pass the hard date of May 15th for savings doesn't move which I find interesting. Does this mean that KLM sees this as the official start to the high seasons and until late fall won't release cheaper flights until almost everyone traveling has their pockets picked with big ticket prices? I know that July -Sept is high season but show some love to the working class KLM we need cheaper tickets.

Nashville, Tennessee
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43. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Unfortunately Brazoo, it is supply and demand. All the good seats, aisle seats, upgraded seats and economy comfort seats may be gone before the price changes. If the demand is high enough, the prices may not go back down. OR, getting seats together may not be possible.

They know what they are doing to maximize profits at yours and my expense....

Bristol
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44. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

End of July is peak season so prices are bound to be higher than April/May and I would imagine are unlikely to drop. May even go up. As Stephen says It's a case of supply and demand.

Isle of Man, United...
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45. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

The other factor at work, or the same one in different guise, is that April /May are low season in TZ. Not many folks realise how lovely the Serengeti can be at that time so it is quiet and no doubt the airlines need to fill the plane.

It all confirms the adage that when you see a price you like then get it and don't fret over whether it may be a few $$ more or less than in two months hence.

Like the Theatrical saying goes, its all about Bums on seats Ducky.

london
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for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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46. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Don't forget that prices from the US to Tanzania via a European hub will not only be affected by peak times to go to Tanzania but also by peak times for US tourists going to Europe (and European tourists going to the US). Which I would guess is also Northern hemisphere summer time, probably starting from June but peaking around the end of July when school holidays start.

Appleton, WI
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47. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Stokeygirl - you know I never did think about summer in Europe and the supply issues. Great point and another factor working against cheaper fares. I have a marketing and economics degree and know supply and demand all to well. One can dream for better prices but if I was working for KLM I would drain every Euro and dollar or whatever currency you can from the people needing the route. On the paying side of the coin I only hope for mercy on my wallet.

Stanley, Falkland...
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48. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

If you know about marketing and economics, you could also consider something other than peak-time travel with the market leader.

How about saving some money and trying a less-well-known airline, eg Turkish, Qatar, Emirates, Kenya, etc, etc.

Or a less convenient route? It depends on what is important... time, money, airline reputation, etc?

Manchester, United...
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49. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

We did not wait and it made no difference to our price at all.

Appleton, WI
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187 posts
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50. Re: Airline Booking right at 331 days or wait it out longer?

Just heard that the arrivals area at Nairobi airport was apparently destroyed by fire this morning, and has been indefinitely closed. Never like to hear that and hope everyone is okay. So does that mean that because of people scrambling to use other airports like DAR or JRO that the lovely airlines will exploit this issue and reflect that in airline prices into Tanzania as a result? They are after all a corporation and its all about the $$$ and being opportunistic unfortunately. I hope not on the heels of my pending booking I plan to make.