The Dallas Morning News, June 19, 2011
By Tom Parsons
If you purchased your summer tickets to Europe earlier this year, you should check fares to see if they have gone down. The fares on many routes for summer travel have dropped from what the airlines were charging in winter and early spring, and some have dropped as much as $700.
Any time a fare dips after you've made a ticket purchase, you might be able to recoup some of the difference. Most airlines impose a change fee on nonrefundable tickets, and the fare difference will have to exceed that amount, which can be up to $150 on domestic routes and up to $250 on international routes.
If the price difference is more than the change fee, you can get a credit on that airline in the form of a voucher.
For example, if you purchased a trip from Dallas to Paris on April 1 for travel July 14-21, you would have paid $1,679 roundtrip, but fares on that route for the same dates recently dropped to $1,029, a difference of $650. Even when you account for the change fee, you'd still get a voucher for $400, which is definitely worth the effort.
We are now seeing the biggest savings on fares to Europe for departure Aug. 14-28. From Dallas, many cities are averaging in the $800 to $950 range for roundtrip flights, including those to Dublin, Rome, Amsterdam, Prague and Barcelona.
Whether you are looking to get some money back or are buying a new ticket, be flexible to get the cheapest rates. Look at your ideal flight times, but also check fares for Monday through Thursday flights. Avoid nonstop flights; making a stop along your route on an international flight can save you hundreds of dollars.
On the domestic front, if you paid a high price for a ticket, you should also check for price drops. When booking tickets, if you think there is a good chance you'll have to change your ticket, you'll want to check change fees and choose Southwest, the only carrier that does not charge a change fee, or one of the carriers that charges lower prices for changing tickets.
Out of Dallas, we've seen fares as low as $78 to Tulsa and $118 to Houston. If you purchased one of these fares on a legacy carrier and you need to make a change, you are better off just buying a new ticket.
If you are in the market for fall travel, I suggest holding off on buying your tickets because as we get closer to July, we should see prices drop. If you already purchased your fall tickets, remember this story and look for the price drops to come.
Tom Parsons is CEO of Bestfares.com: [email protected]
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