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Old 09-21-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
Jevia
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My family has traveled to France over Christmas to spend the holidays with my husband's family several times. Usually the price isn't too bad, but this year it doesn't seem to be coming down from the nearly $1,000 per person (to fly from Philly to Marseilles). Anyone hear anything about flight prices going down sometimes soon for the early winter?
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:21 PM   #2
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Are you looking for fares yourself or are you using a travel agency?

I see fares starting as low as $333 plus taxes that are good over the holidays. However, my guess is that you have waited too long and the lower classes are sold out on the days you are looking at. Therefore, what you are seeing in the way of pricing is what is available.

A travel agency can see about getting a lower price through a consolidator. The higher priced fares can often be reduced. But again, it all depends on what class of service is available on the days you wish to travel. You don't get to see that on any booking site, but an agency with a GDS can.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:55 AM   #3
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And can you perhaps fly in to BCN and drive to Marseilles---it is only about 4 to 5 hours and a beauty of a drive
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:08 AM   #4
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If you're going to do that, then it's a no-brainer to go to the Salvador Dalí Theatre-Museum, in Figueres, Catalonia (Spain) which is right on the way. It is a fascinating place.

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And can you perhaps fly in to BCN and drive to Marseilles---it is only about 4 to 5 hours and a beauty of a drive
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bodega View Post
I see fares starting as low as $333 plus taxes that are good over the holidays. However, my guess is that you have waited too long and the lower classes are sold out on the days you are looking at. Therefore, what you are seeing in the way of pricing is what is available.

A travel agency can see about getting a lower price through a consolidator. The higher priced fares can often be reduced. But again, it all depends on what class of service is available on the days you wish to travel. You don't get to see that on any booking site, but an agency with a GDS can.
Available maximum discounted inventory is no doubt the problem. Doing a quick check shows that the week before Christmas to be pretty much toast. USAir for example has discounted seats on Dec. 11, only 2 on the 12th, then nothing until very close in, like the 23rd or 24th, nothing for a return until January 5 or later.

The airlines have reduced lift (frequency of flights) quite a bit this year so what is operating is filling up fast for the better fares. Even domestically I was having to use premium level fares for Thanksgiving travel booked this summer because that's all that was left for the destinations we were looking at.

For something like this, I'd also recommend getting with an air savvy TA and plan to be extremely flexible with your dates, ready to jump immediately on anything within reason that can be found. It's going to be a difficult year for holiday air travel all around.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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I had been looking periodically for several months and never saw fares dip below $940 except for very inconvenient, long, and 2-stop flights. In the past, I usually check online for price, then use a travel agent since the prices are generally a bit better, and I can request child meals. Unfortunately, the good one I've used the past couple of times is no longer available to me, so I have to go hunting for a new one (Philly - center city/main-line recommendations are welcomed - I was not happy with Liberty Travel the last time I used them).

I know our availability to fly is limited and during a peak time, so I never expect a bargain. I had just hoped that with airline travel down overall, maybe something was in the works for a fare decrease.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:49 AM   #7
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When it comes to holiday travel, if you wait for low prices, you risk not getting a seat. However, we all know the airfare game and it is annoying to buy a ticket early and then see a fare come into the market a month or so before travel. However, just because a low fare gets advertised in your market doesn't mean space will be there. While the airlines are suppose to have seats available on an advertised fare, at holiday time, that isn't always possible when flights are already sold out. Buying a ticket is a gamble and you need to set a price you are willing to go up to and then dive in. For Thanksgiving and Christmas travel, lower priced tickets are usually gone by June. It is not unusual to see space sold out by March in certain markets.

Once you find an agent you like, give them your usual travel dates and have them keep a file and watch for fares. I do that for my clients who travel to the same destination each year. Fares go up and down daily and often several times within a day. My last trip to NY was for $149 roundtrip on UA! The fare changed twice in a day to my destination and the fare I got was only in the computer for two hours.
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