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Old 02-18-2013, 10:02   #1
mhambi
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International flight... best price?

For all you globetrotting GTers out there...

Since it's been 20 years since I really flew 'internationally', I'm looking for the best way to get a decent price on a flight. SLC-JNB at the end of May, coming back 2 - 3 weeks later.

Favorite websites?
Booking strategies?
Travel agency?
Secret code words? (lol)

1450 is about the best I've been able to find so far. And acceptable if I can't find anything better.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:09   #2
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When not using air miles, I use Expedia for everything.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:11   #3
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I priced a flight to moscow on expedia recently, got a pretty decent price. Shopped around, was within $10 of the lowest fare I could find elsewhere.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:33   #4
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A hint. Look at all the add-on to the fares. What comes up the cheapest, may not be the "cheapest" once you figure in luggage, access to the toilets, bag or pretzels, etc.

Also look at the amount of tax. If you are seeing $1400 with tax there is at least $600 of that as taxes and fees.

I don't go for the cheapest price.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:50   #5
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kayak.com
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:55   #6
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More advice.

What airlines hub where you are flying from? If the price difference is minimal, you will most likely get more options (flights) on that airline than other airlines.

How is your health? if poorly, allow for a long enough layover stateside if not flying direct from SLC > Europe/JNB so you can walk around for a bit, take a dump in a real tiolet, and have a real meal in a real restaurant (since you are not planning on flying business).

Most international flights offer full meal service in coach, but it is still cramped.

When I fly to SA, I usually go direct from Newark or Atlanta on United or Delta, or JFK thru Brussels or London on AA/BA, Swiss Air Lufthansa, etc. Most other times I was already somewhere else in the world and connect thru CGD on Air France.

Good luck.
- G
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:13   #7
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Most international flights offer full meal service in coach, but it is still cramped.
Is that what that stuff is called???
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:27   #8
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Is that what that stuff is called???

The meals I get on United, Singapore Air and BA in international coach often times beats what I get in domestic/USA<>Central America 1st class.

What I do for short flights (2-5hrs) is pack enough fruits and veggies to keep me properly nutritioned (my new word) until I get where I am going. That would mean most flights across country, to the south and for most destinations in the Caribbean, which is about 60% of my flying anyways.
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Old 02-18-2013, 13:05   #9
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I usually start with http://www.hipmunk.com - they have by FAR the best display of flights, with a visual chart showing flight length, layover time, and arrival time very clearly.

They also do a very good job of sorting flights by 'agony', a mix of price vs. pain, so they'll highlight shorter, slightly more-expensive flights over a cheap flight with three stops, for example.

I also use Kayak and Expedia.

A travel agent can be very helpful for international flights, and hotels, but I'm not patient enough for the communication cycle of mailing, waiting for them to look at something, replying, etc.
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Old 02-18-2013, 13:11   #10
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A hint. Look at all the add-on to the fares. What comes up the cheapest, may not be the "cheapest" once you figure in luggage, access to the toilets, bag or pretzels, etc.
Roger that. It looks like I get 1 bag free and 1 carryon at that price, which is sufficient.

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More advice.

What airlines hub where you are flying from? If the price difference is minimal, you will most likely get more options (flights) on that airline than other airlines.

How is your health? if poorly, allow for a long enough layover stateside if not flying direct from SLC > Europe/JNB so you can walk around for a bit, take a dump in a real tiolet, and have a real meal in a real restaurant (since you are not planning on flying business).



- G
Good thoughts. Delta hub out of Salt Lake. So it's likely to Chicago or Houston then to Amsterdam and KLM from there down. Any thoughts on KLM? I flew Lufthansa out of Brussels last time, but it's been a looooooong time.

I'll have several hours each stop to loosen up the legs, eat, etc.

Anyone ever use google flights? https://www.google.com/flights/
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Old 02-18-2013, 13:22   #11
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If you want the shortest flight from salt lake..try Lufthansa.

You can fly united to Denver and direct to Frankfurt. I would not fly Lufthansa economy though.

Personally I would not fly any economy international that wasn't an economy plus seat. And that is barely tolerable.


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Old 02-18-2013, 13:30   #12
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kayak.com
What I used last October to go to Italy for two weeks. $970.00 round trip.

Newark, NJ to Rome.

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Old 02-18-2013, 13:47   #13
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If you want the shortest flight from salt lake..try Lufthansa.

You can fly united to Denver and direct to Frankfurt. I would not fly Lufthansa economy though.

Personally I would not fly any economy international that wasn't an economy plus seat. And that is barely tolerable.


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While not exactly below the poverty line... I'd classify myself as... unwealthy.



Business class flights @ 7K+? I'll suffer through cattle, I mean coach, so I can do more stuff incountry.
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Old 02-18-2013, 14:38   #14
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Business class flights @ 7K+? I'll suffer through cattle, I mean coach, so I can do more stuff incountry.
When someone else pays for BC, its well worth it.

But I am not talking about BC. Airlines such as United have Economy Plus. It is $50-100 more for one way on the flight (so somewhere between $100-200 more for a ticket if you have to buy it). You get about 5 to 6 inch more room to the seat in front of you. On 7 to 11 hour flight that 5 to 6 inches makes the flight so much better. I wouldnt even question spending the extra money.

Lufthansa doesnt have E+. Their seat spacing is very tight.
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Old 02-18-2013, 14:40   #15
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Also, if you get on new WW configuration United plane, the Economy and E+ have the same programs as Business (I was told so I cannot guarantee it..but they do have video on demand) just a much smaller screen. 1st and Business have the same programs so I suspect its throughout the plane. A good selection of movies helps.

So does ambien.
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Old 02-18-2013, 15:38   #16
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I've had my best luck going directly to Delta's website.
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Old 02-18-2013, 16:08   #17
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I've had my best luck going directly to Delta's website.

What the REAL stingy pros do is, use kayak and hipmunk, see what the best fare is, then book the flight directly from the airline - if all travel is on one airline.

There are many times I pay my travel agent the $40-$80 to deal with my flights, because they are worth it.

Once I have the flight booked, I use seatguru.com to see what seats look like for my flight.

I don't recall if malaria tablets are recommended for SA, as most times when I venture in that part of the world, I head out to some other African nations that do require shots or meds.

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Old 02-18-2013, 18:41   #18
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Gman. That is just cheap.


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Old 02-18-2013, 18:57   #19
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Gman. That is just cheap.
...

When they do it, they are capitalists,
when I do it, I'm a cheapskate.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:06   #20
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Lufthansa doesnt have E+. Their seat spacing is very tight.

How efficiently German!

Anyway, I find that even a cheaper flight is generally only nominally so. Sometimes having a flexible schedule helps, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes buying far in advance is helpful, other times not. It seems that you're more or less at the mercy of seasonal price fluctuations, though for spring break 2010 I flew to Spain and back for about $650, while the flight for the same period this year looks to be around double that. I've already got my tickets for this march to visit the girlfriend's sister near Frankfurt, which cost about the same; so that hurt.

Also, perhaps some airlines serving the area in which you'll be traveling offer a feature like SwissAir's website. It allows you to view a map where you can manipulate the departure and destination airports to very easily compare the fare costs, typically comparable to other airlines' fares for the same two airports. When we were originally going to Germany in a different month, it turned out that a flight to Liechtenstein from Atlanta was about $400 cheaper (!!), and even with the flight to and from ATL, and train fare once in Europe, would have been pretty good savings. Could've been a one-time thing, but who knows?

Good luck.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:15   #21
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How efficiently German!

Anyway, I find that even a cheaper flight is generally only nominally so. Sometimes having a flexible schedule helps, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes buying far in advance is helpful, other times not. It seems that you're more or less at the mercy of seasonal price fluctuations, though for spring break 2010 I flew to Spain and back for about $650, while the flight for the same period this year looks to be around double that. I've already got my tickets for this march to visit the girlfriend's sister near Frankfurt, which cost about the same; so that hurt.

Also, perhaps some airlines serving the area in which you'll be traveling offer a feature like SwissAir's website. It allows you to view a map where you can manipulate the departure and destination airports to very easily compare the fare costs, typically comparable to other airlines' fares for the same two airports. When we were originally going to Germany in a different month, it turned out that a flight to Liechtenstein from Atlanta was about $400 cheaper (!!), and even with the flight to and from ATL, and train fare once in Europe, would have been pretty good savings. Could've been a one-time thing, but who knows?

Good luck.
I have never seen an airport in Lichtenstein. I dont even know if the damn place is long enough for 10000ft runway. I doubt it wide enough. I suspect that you were flying into CH (Zurich). Just some uselss trivia. Lichtenstein isnt big enough to take care of many govt functions (i.e. license plates) and they outsource to CH.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:16   #22
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H

Also, perhaps some airlines serving the area in which you'll be traveling offer a feature like SwissAir's website.
Swissair is nice. Good food. Chocolate. Espresso on on board.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:20   #23
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Airlines use very complex data crunching algorithms to determine price. There are instances where prices are fluctuating by the hour, and sometimes within a 5 min window.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:26   #24
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I have never seen an airport in Lichtenstein. I dont even know if the damn place is long enough for 10000ft runway. I doubt it wide enough. I suspect that you were flying into CH (Zurich). Just some uselss trivia. Lichtenstein isnt big enough to take care of many govt functions (i.e. license plates) and they outsource to CH.
I could have sworn that the destination airport was listed as Liechtenstein, but I now read that they definitely have no airport. You must be right about Zurich. That, or Lichtenstein airport is one of those big inflatable pads the stewardesss aims for when they kick you out of the emergency exit on the descent to Frankfurt.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:28   #25
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Keep in mind some airplane tickets inside of Europe include a train ticket with them but they dont really say that you are riding a train.
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