I have never made an airline reservation before. I need to get a round trip ticket to New York for my 17 year old daughter to attend a ten day seminar at Columbia University. How do I go about this? Since I am inexperienced, I am concerned that I will waste a lot of money. Also, she does not go until June 18th, and I'm wondering when I should make the reservation.
You need to make the reservation as soon as possible as the earlier you make a reservation the cheaper it will be. It is best to make it at least 2 weeks prior to the flight. The cheapest flights that I have found are through United Airlines. CheapoAir.com searches many different comapnies to give the lowest rate. They are much better than Orbitz, etc. I just booked a ticket a month ago through CheapoAir and they were great.
BOOK ASAP!!! I've found that internet prices are generally lower than calling an agency. I've used Southwest for years as it's one of the only carriers that flies from San Jose to Phoenix, I get their e-mails for new rates all the time, if for some reason (only happened once) the internet didn't work you can call with the price on the phone and they should honor the internet price. You are going to pay more the closer you get to the time to leave.
Find out who flies from your airport to the one she is going to, here in San Jose you can plug in where you are going and it will give you all the airlines that service that area.
Once you find the lowest price you might even consider doing Priceline.
You can select the number of stops you want but not the airline.
I just got a ticket for the cost it was going for in off season, about a 100 bucks cheaper than what they were selling them for at the current rates.
but this would require some research.
Also check out clarkhoward.com and go to the airline section, he has a lot of tips. http://clarkhoward.com/shownotes/category/10/104/205/
About priceline, you can say the day but not the time, so be very very careful. If she has to fly in a day in advance and out a day late to make the times she has to be there, you'll pay too much for hotels, won't save on the total picture, and those tickets are not changeable. You might call other moms and see what they are paying and which airline they are using. If a few of the kids went together, they might carpool to an airport a couple of hours away that has a budget airline. Also they want to go together from the airport to the city. There are 3 airports in New York, different airlines fly to each of them.
The cost changes at 21 days out and 14 days out, so definitely act quickly. Sometimes it doesn't go up in that week, but often it does.
Airtran always runs internet specials on Tuesdays! Check Airtran.com for ticket prices. I find them very cheap all the time, as I fly from Atlanta to Buffalo, NY and back quite often and always found Airtran the cheapest.
Book early, try a few sites, and if a site offeres to list nearby airports then look at those. We live in Cincinnati, OH but typically can fly out of Dayton or Columbus for much cheaper. Yes, it's a pain to drive a couple extra hours but sometimes the savings are worth it.
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