Finding air: how far out?
About This Page: This is a discussion on Finding air: how far out? within the Getting There (and Back!): Your Journey to Walt Disney World, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; How far out does one start looking for airfare? We're looking for August 2012.
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They won't publish good rates too early. I use Airfare Deals - Cheap Flights - Airfarewatchdog to track good rates on flights, you can even set your desired rate and select to receive an email when you get to your good rate.
Sometimes Disney's air rates are the same as the published one's and sometimes you can find them for much lower so check around! You have plenty of time for flights, I would make sure you get your deposit down on your room, you can always apply promotions later if they come out.
For me, I start looking at about 6 months out. I never book that early unless I stumble upon an incredible rate (I've never seen one, but my lucky brother often finds unbelievable rates when he's able to plan early).
Then I usually check once a week (usually Tuesday nights or early Wednesday) to see what the pattern of fares is. Then, as I get closer to within 2 months of my trip, I start to hone in on what to expect, and by then I've kind of made up my mind what fare would be reasonable for me to purchase. Then, when I see it, I jump on it! Most of the time, I see them in the 3-5 weeks before travel range, but that's not always the case.
There are lots of fare trackers that you can sign up for (I haven't used them, but I'm sure other experts here will share which ones they use!) to get an idea of what is a "good" fare to purchase and when to expect them.
Huge Disney Fan...Always Have Been...Always Will Be!
We have started looking now that its within the 331 day, I'm aiming to fly with delta, they always seem to be the cheapest out of Detroit. Now if Southwest could put their fare out further ahead I would be more inclined to fly with them,
Once we know we will be traveling around a certain time, and know the destination, we start keeping an eye on fares. We try to figure out what is a good/great price, what is too high, and what is fair. If it is a great fare, be prepared to act quickly, as it may disappear just as quickly as it showed up. Although we usually fly out of EWR, last February we saved about $1500 by expanding our search to PHL. It was worth driving down the day before and staying at the airport Marriott.
Hudson River view from promenade at Liberty State Park in NJ - Disney Magic in Hudson River, passing the new One World Trade Center
Contemporary/Red Boat 1993; Dixie Landings 1994, POR 6/2007; CSR 8/1998, 6/2005, 2/2011; 8/2012; DCL (Wonder)/Boardwalk 2000; AKL 1/2003, 6/2003, 6/2004, 4/2006, 6/2009; DL 7/2007, 7/2010; 8/2011; CBR 4/2008; Polynesian 12/11; Hollywood Hotel (Hong Kong Disneyland) 8/2008
It really depends on the airline you are flying. If you are flying Southwest---book early the cost goes up as the flight fills up and they very rarely come down. If you are flying another airline I would start checking at about 50-45 days out as that is when the prices start to come down!
Many airlines, such as Delta, United, AA, etc, release flights for booking 335 days out. These fares are often expensive when first released and then these airlines will hopefully drop the original fares. I would track these airlines and then when SW, AirTran, and JetBlue release their fares, compare the costs between the airlines. Do not forget to figure in bag fees and any other fees a particular airline throws into the mix.
I start searching pretty early in the planning process. But I don't book airfare until AFTER I book our hotel. And I typically don't book a hotel more than 3 or 4 months in advance. Airfare is typically booked right after that.
We usually fly JetBlue or SWA and it seems like they release their fares about 6 months in advance (a little earlier on JB) so we start looking then. If we're going to be travelling on a holiday weekend and our dates aren't flexible, I'll start looking at carriers like Delta, who have their schedules out almost a year in advance, and if I see a good fare I jump on it. That's what we did for our MLK trip this year.
We usually travel the week of Thanksgiving so I start looking in January when they open the 330 day window. This year we bought our tickets at the end of January. I am glad we did because the same ticket is now $200 higher. That adds up when I have to buy six of them.
For our trip next month, I started looking in January. I looked about once a week just to see if I could see a trend going on. Then we actually booked in February.
I found an incredibly decent price out of Providence on SW that happened to be at perfect times. When my husband finally went to book (a week later--he wanted to do more research...), they were gone. He was upset (and I was too) because they were the best price either one of us had found. BUT he searched around and he found some amazing prices out of Boston on SW. We paid about $65 per flight (including taxes). The flights aren't direct and the times leave a little to be desired, but it's costing us less than $700 for four of us to fly.