No matter where we play around the world, our teams are always comprised of both players from across the nation and players with assess to different sources of low cost or free air fares. We have had players participate from over 35 states and from 5 countries. We also have players wishing to use frequent flyer points, use their favorite airline to get frequent flyer points, work directly-indirectly for airlines and thus have free tickets, and normal non travelers wishing the cheapest price from where they live. So that everyone has the opportunity to travel as best suites their needs, our trips do not include airfare. To make finding your dream fare easier, please consider the following guide to acquiring your plane reservation. And no matter what fare you find, call a travel agent to see if they can beat it as it is their goal in life.
As always noted, please don't make a plane reservation until you have received word that your trip is sold out.
How Do I Get The Best Airfare?
I Want To Use My Favorite Airline
If you only want to use a specific airline, then call them direct or check out their website for their fare to our current destination. For example, if you only want to fly Delta for some reason (perhaps the frequent flyer points), then you'll have to call Delta. You won't have much price flexibility as they probably only have one international flight each day to where we are going, so they won't offer much of a discount when that plane starts filling. And if its a non stop flight, then you'll really pay more when it starts filling up. Delta's direct flight from New York to Moscow, for example, runs $600 more than the British Airways flight that goes through London.
All is not lost if you only want to travel on a specific airline as there are still ways to save. When getting your airfare quote ask if coming or going a day before or after our trip will save you money. If you travel on weekdays versus weekends, the savings will usually be worthwhile. You will pay more for the hotel, buy even if that equals your savings you will come out ahead. Why? Because you'll spend that much more time enjoying a foreign country versus the time you'll "lose" sitting on your couch watching TV.
One important note is that most discounts for flight occur around 3 months before we go and not 6 months before when the trips are first announced. For example, the best fare to Paris for a July trip will usually appear in April and not in January.
I Want The Cheapest Fare I Can Easily Find
The internet has several websites that search the majority (read this as not all) of airlines schedules/flights and provides you a cost sorted listing of your options. Sites to consult for fares include:
I Want To Buy My Ticket Now
Consolidators purchase block of tickets from major airlines at a deep discount for resale to individuals. Most of the time these tickets can be purchased well in advance of our trips at about the same price the lowest sale fares would be at later on. This option saves you the worry of missing the sale though sales may still be a little cheaper if the plane still has lots of empty seats.
The easiest way to find a consolidator specializing in tickets originating in your area is to check your Sunday paper's travel section. Look for the 2 inch ads listing cities around the world being offered at cheap prices. Even if the city you need isn't listed, call as consolidators have more cities than they list in the ads.
Consolidators also exist on the internet, but their tickets may be higher as they will also need to sell you the fare from your city to the gateway city their consolidators fares leave from. For example, a New York based consolidator may have the cheapest fare to Moscow, but if you live in Ohio they will have to add on the cost of the flight to New York. An extensive list of consolidators can be found at the Frommers website.
Want that discounted business class sear? Subscribe to the www.JoeSentMe.com newsletter and check out their website's Steals and Deals section for the latest on discounted business and first class fares.
I Like To Gamble For Air Fares
Feeling lucky? Than try the bidding for tickets approach offered by Priceline at www.priceline.com or Hotwire at www.hotwire.com . You tell them where you wish to go, when you wish to go, and how much you wish to bid. If they accept, you are in. The downside? You could have 5 stops in route and Money magazine claims that you usually only save $20 for this privileged ride. Oh and you may not qualify for the frequent flyer points.
A great tip for using Priceline is to consult all the bidding information given at Bidding For Travel. This site lists recent winning bids, so you may actual see when someone else paid for the same city and dates before you over bid.
I Have A Lot Of Time On My Hands
Getting a flight on a carrier that takes you into our host city is pretty easy. Want to save a lot of money? Then try piecing flights together using the lesser known travel routes and airlines. For example, next time we play In Ireland take Air India from Newark as it stops there to refuel and the savings beats the US carriers sometimes by 50%. Get to a gateway city and take the train or an intra country airline for more savings. What are some of the lesser known carriers that offer great savings if you are willing to work for them?
I Don't Want To Go By Myself!
Do you wish to make sure you arrive and get to our hotel with ease? Then make your travel arrangements the same as mine and you'll arrive when I do and have no worries. I send all our players my travel information once my reservations are made.