It is hard to think about, but now is the time to book your holiday air. The fares are already going up for November/December travel. There will be no significant sales to wait for. Spend a little time now deciding which airline and flight best suits your travel plans. Keep an eye on the fare for a week or two then book it.
There is nothing in the travel industry more frustrating and impossible to keep up with than the rules of the airfare game. Just when you get a handle on which day is the best to buy tickets or how much your suitcase is going to cost to ship, one of the airlines sends up a trial balloon.
If we don’t scream too loud at the potential change, most all the other airlines adopt similar increases. Over the past two months there have been enough changes in the air business to make me wonder if there is anyone with common sense and decency running our not so friendly skies.
Here are a few Insider tips to make your next flight decision a little easier:
• One of your best sources for figuring out when to buy a ticket and when the fare is likely to increase is www.farecompare.com. The site lets you set alerts for your itineraries. You will be emailed when the fare goes up or down. Set an alert for any trips you are considering or even dreaming about. FareCompare.com also gives you the price of a flight on each day of the week so you can decide which day is the cheapest to travel.
• Twitter is a good source for constantly changing airfares. Follow your favorite airlines. They often announce sales and changes on Twitter to test the water before going public. United offers “twares” and JetBlue has “Cheeps” every Tuesday.
• Last minute seats are possible. If you see a flight is sold out, return to the airline’s website for a few days and watch for seats to open up. Tour companies release unsold seats and there are blackouts for certain seat categories before being made available.
• Check out this new air booking search engine – www.hipmunk.com. I am still testing its content, but its layout and format is a refreshing change from most all of the other air booking sites.
• Finally, when booking online, read all the fine print before pressing the buy button. There is no customer service rep to make date changes or tell you about additional charges. Call the airline directly for the best prices, unless you luck into a flash sale online. Look at the details of supposed deals; most will be for early or late flights with multiple stops. Look closely at what you are buying, consider insurance for pricey tickets, keep a positive, upbeat attitude and maybe they once again will become the friendly skies.
Editor’s note: The Georgia Voice is pleased to introduce Jo Giraudo as our Travel blogger. Jo is an Accredited Cruise Counselor and owner of Insider Traveler. Jo will offer frequent updates on news and events of interest to LGBT travelers, including both LGBT-specific destinations and general travel issues that affect all of us. Got a question for Jo? Email her at email@example.com, or through firstname.lastname@example.org.