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Plane Tickets and flying 
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Post Plane Tickets and flying
So, I will be flying out to at least two universities (at their expense, yay) in the next two months. I've never flown before, nor bought tickets, so I need to know:

What's the best timing for buying tickets? Eg should I wait it out for a later drop in price, buy now, etc.

And how long of a wait should I be expecting at the airport

etc.

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Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:53 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
Buy your tickets early, the longer you wait the more expensive they become.

And people always say block out two hours from checking in luggage to getting towards your gate but I never had to wait that long.


Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:09 am
Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
Buying your tickets early will help you get a better price.

Taking a cab or getting a friend to drop you off at the airport is an added expense/hassle, but WOW, it's nice not to have to worry about finding parking. The only time I've nearly missed a flight was when I couldn't find a @&)($%!!! parking place.

Make sure you have ID that isn't expired.

They'll probably make you take off your shoes to get through security, so wearing slip-ons helps you recombobulate more easily when you get through to the other side.


Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:18 am
Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
firefly wrote:
So, I will be flying out to at least two universities (at their expense, yay) in the next two months. I've never flown before, nor bought tickets, so I need to know:

What's the best timing for buying tickets? Eg should I wait it out for a later drop in price, buy now, etc.

And how long of a wait should I be expecting at the airport

etc.


You're into statistics. Statistically, the best (read: cheapest) time to buy is early (but not too early. I have no idea when this means, I just read it) and on a Tuesday.

http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/best-time-buy-airline-tickets/story?id=4519704&page=1

Other things:

Listen to Sapphire's tip about shoes. Not a "must" but a definite time saver. You might want to review the airline's regulations concerning luggage weight and what you're allowed to bring in a carry-on. Have you seen Up in the Air yet? Might be worth a re-watch :)


Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:21 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
Try to fly at oddball times during the week. Chances for flights that aren't overbooked are greater. If it looks like the flight is not full, ask the gate attendant if they have any upgrades available. When I flew from LA to Dallas last month on Virgin America, I upgraded at the gate to First Class for $50. Considering My checked back would have cost me $25 in coach anyway, it was well worth it. Priority boarding, free (nice) meal, free drinks, tons more room, very comfortable. Just something to shoot for.


Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:07 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
I think Tuesdays for buying tickets, generally around 3 weeks before departure yields decent pricing. Flying mid-week is usally cheaper than on a Monday or Friday. The wait at the airport will depend on the airport you're using. A smaller airport (like I have) is usually a shorter line through security compared to a regional hub like Chicago or Atlanta or a "destination" city like Orlando or Vegas.

If your trips are only a day or 2, try and get everything you'll need into a carry on. If you don't have to check bags, you'll save a lot of hassle, time, and maybe $. If you must check luggage, note that you MUST BE CHECKED IN AND HAVE THE BAG CHECKED at least 45 minutes before the flight. I got left off of a flight after waiting in a horrendous check in line and tried to check in at 8:10 for an 8:50 flight. Complete BS.

Also, if your flight is at 2:00, chances are they'll close the doors to the plane around 1:45-1:50 so they can leave on time, so don't expect you can just saunter up at 1:55 and climb aboard. They will leave without you once the door's closed.

Your sequence at the airport will be check-in: you can either do this online the day of your flight and print your boarding pass, or do it at the check-in desk at the airport. If you can, do it online; less chance of getting bumped if you have the boarding pass in hand. If you have bags to check, you do it at check-in. In person you'll need an ID (passport or driver's license) and they'll print your boarding pass if you didn't do it at home.
Then it's on to security checkpoint. You'll need your ID and your boarding pass. If you did not check a bag, you may have packed toiletries (shampoo and the like)...make sure they are in small bottles in a clear plastic bag, or plan to buy at your destination or use the hotel stuff.
http://www.tsa.gov/311/
Make sure you have nothing that resembles a weapon. I always carry a swiss army knife (very MacGyver, I know) I always have to remember to stuff in my checked luggage.

Once through security you are done with your ID...you can put it away. You're now on to your gate where they will scan your boarding pass just before getting on the plane.

If it's a long cross-country flight, they may have movies on board. I always bring my own headphones as the supplied ones either cost $ or are crap quality (or both). If you have noise cancelling, that would be great as there is a lot of ambient noise in an airborne plane.


Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:48 am
Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
johnny larue wrote:
I think Tuesdays for buying tickets, generally around 3 weeks before departure yields decent pricing. Flying mid-week is usally cheaper than on a Monday or Friday. The wait at the airport will depend on the airport you're using. A smaller airport (like I have) is usually a shorter line through security compared to a regional hub like Chicago or Atlanta or a "destination" city like Orlando or Vegas.

If your trips are only a day or 2, try and get everything you'll need into a carry on. If you don't have to check bags, you'll save a lot of hassle, time, and maybe $. If you must check luggage, note that you MUST BE CHECKED IN AND HAVE THE BAG CHECKED at least 45 minutes before the flight. I got left off of a flight after waiting in a horrendous check in line and tried to check in at 8:10 for an 8:50 flight. Complete BS.

Also, if your flight is at 2:00, chances are they'll close the doors to the plane around 1:45-1:50 so they can leave on time, so don't expect you can just saunter up at 1:55 and climb aboard. They will leave without you once the door's closed.

Your sequence at the airport will be check-in: you can either do this online the day of your flight and print your boarding pass, or do it at the check-in desk at the airport. If you can, do it online; less chance of getting bumped if you have the boarding pass in hand. If you have bags to check, you do it at check-in. In person you'll need an ID (passport or driver's license) and they'll print your boarding pass if you didn't do it at home.
Then it's on to security checkpoint. You'll need your ID and your boarding pass. If you did not check a bag, you may have packed toiletries (shampoo and the like)...make sure they are in small bottles in a clear plastic bag, or plan to buy at your destination or use the hotel stuff.
http://www.tsa.gov/311/
Make sure you have nothing that resembles a weapon. I always carry a swiss army knife (very MacGyver, I know) I always have to remember to stuff in my checked luggage.

Once through security you are done with your ID...you can put it away. You're now on to your gate where they will scan your boarding pass just before getting on the plane.

If it's a long cross-country flight, they may have movies on board. I always bring my own headphones as the supplied ones either cost $ or are crap quality (or both). If you have noise cancelling, that would be great as there is a lot of ambient noise in an airborne plane.


Oooh? A frequent flier? Those are some good tips, buddy. I especially like the headphones one. I always forget to pack those on the rare occasions that I fly.


Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:45 pm
Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
ed_metal_head wrote:
Oooh? A frequent flier? Those are some good tips, buddy. I especially like the headphones one. I always forget to pack those on the rare occasions that I fly.


I'm down to one or two round trip flights a year. It used to be 3 or 4, but that was mixing business and leisure flights. Since the kids arrived, it's pretty much been business only. I don't think I've ever been able to get away with NOT checking luggage; my trips usually are between 4 days and a week. (In 2009 I had 2 14-day trips to the UK for business...those strained the limits of my trusty American Tourister.)


Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:12 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
I fly about 30-40 flights a year, and am an Elite on Delta, so I'll add my thoughts--

Ignore the initial posts about how earlier is always better. "Early but not too early," as Ed said, is what you should be going for. For example, I'm flying to London in June, but I haven't bought my tickets yet because I know fares will go down. Focusing directly on your situation though, if you find a see a good fare then go ahead and take it. 2 months out is a fairly good window, and after all, you're not paying for it.

As for where to go, I would start at Orbitz.com. It will show most major US airlines (I think you're American, right Firefly?) and what fare they want for the flights. Southwest and American Airlines, however, will not show their fares on Orbitz.

As for what type of wait you're looking at, it very much depends on your airport. Older airports are almost always worse, larger airports are almost always worse, and the time of day will matter as well.

If you'd like me to look for fares for you, I would be happy to do so. This is kinda what I do these days. I went to Denver this weekend because American Airlines was running ridiculously cheap fares and Washington-Denver was a mere 100 dollars roundtrip. So if you'd like, tell me cities and dates and I'll see what I can find for you.

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Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:58 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
JamesKunz wrote:
I fly about 30-40 flights a year, and am an Elite on Delta, so I'll add my thoughts--

Ignore the initial posts about how earlier is always better. "Early but not too early," as Ed said, is what you should be going for. For example, I'm flying to London in June, but I haven't bought my tickets yet because I know fares will go down. Focusing directly on your situation though, if you find a see a good fare then go ahead and take it. 2 months out is a fairly good window, and after all, you're not paying for it.

As for where to go, I would start at Orbitz.com. It will show most major US airlines (I think you're American, right Firefly?) and what fare they want for the flights. Southwest and American Airlines, however, will not show their fares on Orbitz.

As for what type of wait you're looking at, it very much depends on your airport. Older airports are almost always worse, larger airports are almost always worse, and the time of day will matter as well.

If you'd like me to look for fares for you, I would be happy to do so. This is kinda what I do these days. I went to Denver this weekend because American Airlines was running ridiculously cheap fares and Washington-Denver was a mere 100 dollars roundtrip. So if you'd like, tell me cities and dates and I'll see what I can find for you.


If you happen to find a good deal for Pittsburgh to Tallahassee Florida, on Sunday March 27, returning Tuesday March 29, I'd be very :) :)

The other one doesn't look too bad--Pittsburgh to Atlanta, and then I'll be taking a shuttle to Athens. It's not my money anyway (well, I'm buying the tickets and then they're refunding me), but I want to make a good impression on the departments by not spending too much of their money :geek:

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Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:50 am
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
Talahassee is a minor airport with fairly limited commerical service, which means it's going to probably be more expensive than the distance would seem to warrant. Currently you're looking at 440 dollars, which isn't cheap, but probably won't be enough to turn the heads of the people paying. I'd wait a little and see if it drops

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Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:08 am
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
Ok, got all the plane tickets bought, taking off for Georgia on Sunday. Now I need to know:

Will I be able to just take on my pilot bag and put above me? If not, will I have to worry about luggage fees? Also, is there anything really common that I can't bring on? And, do planes have wi fi? I'm guessing they have cell phone coverage.

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Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:06 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
firefly wrote:
Ok, got all the plane tickets bought, taking off for Georgia on Sunday. Now I need to know:

Will I be able to just take on my pilot bag and put above me? If not, will I have to worry about luggage fees? Also, is there anything really common that I can't bring on? And, do planes have wi fi? I'm guessing they have cell phone coverage.


All your questions are contingent upon the airline you're flying so do share. But Cell phone coverage is an absolute no--from the time the plane pushes back from the gate to the time the plane lands, you cannot use your cell phone.

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Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:30 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
JamesKunz wrote:
firefly wrote:
Ok, got all the plane tickets bought, taking off for Georgia on Sunday. Now I need to know:

Will I be able to just take on my pilot bag and put above me? If not, will I have to worry about luggage fees? Also, is there anything really common that I can't bring on? And, do planes have wi fi? I'm guessing they have cell phone coverage.


All your questions are contingent upon the airline you're flying so do share. But Cell phone coverage is an absolute no--from the time the plane pushes back from the gate to the time the plane lands, you cannot use your cell phone.

oh snap. There goes the plans for the mid-flight 'Hey mom, I'm flying' call :(

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Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:36 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
Someone should've mentioned how loud planes are :( My earbuds could not facilitate watching a Mad Men episode. I shall have to endeavor to purchase a pair of noise cancelling headphones before the Flight to (the) Phoenix.

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Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:20 pm
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
firefly wrote:
Someone should've mentioned how loud planes are :( My earbuds could not facilitate watching a Mad Men episode. I shall have to endeavor to purchase a pair of noise cancelling headphones before the Flight to (the) Phoenix.


"There's none so deaf as those who will not hear."

johnny larue wrote:
If it's a long cross-country flight, they may have movies on board. I always bring my own headphones as the supplied ones either cost $ or are crap quality (or both). If you have noise cancelling, that would be great as there is a lot of ambient noise in an airborne plane.


Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:10 am
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Post Re: Plane Tickets and flying
johnny larue wrote:
firefly wrote:
Someone should've mentioned how loud planes are :( My earbuds could not facilitate watching a Mad Men episode. I shall have to endeavor to purchase a pair of noise cancelling headphones before the Flight to (the) Phoenix.


"There's none so deaf as those who will not hear."

johnny larue wrote:
If it's a long cross-country flight, they may have movies on board. I always bring my own headphones as the supplied ones either cost $ or are crap quality (or both). If you have noise cancelling, that would be great as there is a lot of ambient noise in an airborne plane.


Oh snap :oops:

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Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:32 am
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