A Few Words About Airfare
By: Christophe Chabaudie
You are not alone at the time of purchasing your airfare. At Magellan we care about our parents and students and share our knowledge and experience of the fast changing travel industry. We help to keep the fun in travel. Our summer immersion programs abroad traditionally never include airfare, here is why: some parents will use miles from an airline or credit card loyalty program to get a ticket issued, most will prefer to make their own travel arrangements with their local travel agent, on their favorite website with their preferred airline.
Most importantly, if Magellan was to include airfare at the time our programs are listed about 10 to 11 months prior to departure, we would have to overprice the airfare anticipating usual fluctuation of fares. This would simply not be fair. This year is a good example on how the falling price of oil is eventually affecting summer airfare in a good way. Whatever revenue management specialists wish for we are now on a downward trend. Fuel surcharges that were introduced when oil was at over $130 a barrel simply don’t make any sense when the same barrel costs $30. Customers have their own expectations even if airlines will always try to price airfare as high as possible when they feed the system for the coming travel season. Their potential customers are now not only more demanding when it comes to the right airfare but they have become more knowledgeable about how to do it and they know how to shop around. All the tools are available online to do it properly.
Keep this in mind when you search for the best price:
• Set up a “Airfare Watchdog” alert so you do not miss a price adjustment or special deal.
• Check Google Flights for up-to-date airfare or alternative routings you haven’t thought of:
www.google.com/flights – It’s the best search engine available to the public.
• Do not overlook specialized sites catering to students and faculty such as “Student Universe”
• Most airlines allow you to put an itinerary on hold for free for 24 hours and some allow financing for airfares $150+
If you've never traveled, make sure to become a member of the airline loyalty program before the ticket is issued. It is so much easier to have a loyalty member before you travel rather than sending your boarding pass stubs in the mail to be credited of your miles. If you are already a member of an airline program, make sure to weigh what matters most for you: the best price available for your dates of travel on any carrier or the miles you want to accumulate on a particular airline.
For international travel there is no particular time to the week when to buy your ticket. Prices tend to constantly readjust according to the state of the bookings, and reach their peak usually around 3 months before a departure date. Some bargain fares may be available 2 weeks before your departure but this is not something we advise for first time travelers or our participants who have been gearing themselves to spend their best summer abroad. No need to keep some nervous breaking moments right before packing!
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