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How far ahead should I book my flight?
KED528
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moved by moderator. shadow copy removed; should only appear in Cheap Flights now -Don

Hi all,

I’m planning to study abroad next year in Rome from May 16 to June 23. I plan to fly from Boston to Rome (FCO) roundtrip and I’m not quite sure how far ahead I should reserve my seat. I have been checking sites such as Kayak, STA, StudentUniverse and Expedia for the last few months and haven’t seen much of a price change. Kayak shows the most reasonable flight is on United for USD $1147 and STA shows an American Airlines flight for about $1014.

I know since it is during peak season the prices maybe won’t go much lower, but is there a chance I can get a flight for closer to $900 (without a 10-hour layover)? I am a student so if there are any student discount travel sites out there that I missed please let me know.

Thanks!

Don
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I would want to book a mid-May departure at least 6 weeks advance. The best price could be available to book now, next month, or… 6 weeks before departure (for this shoulder-season departure); there’s less rhyme or reason to advance purchase prices than there used to be. Used to be that I’d say wait until Jan. to get serious about booking. But now I’d say 1) keep checking, 2) sign up for alerts with Bing and Farecompare, 3) be ready to book as soon as you see a great price.

From BOS, outbound mid-May, and staying more than 30 days, I think $900 is likely if you keep watching. The absolute best I would reasonably hope for is mid-$800s. If you see anything less than $800, snag it! (because it will be gone quickly)

Be sure to check all of the links, strategies, and sellers—including more student agencies—in our new user thread pinned @top of this (Cheap Flights) forum.

Don
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A quick check for you… $838 total from consolidator FlyCheapAbroad.

KED528
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You have been a great help, Don! Can’t thank you enough!

KED528
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Hi Don — quick question:

I went to FlyCheapAbroad and clicked on the first deal for my travel dates but it then brought me to a screen that said “Pricing Failed. – We are sorry. The itinerary you selected cannot be booked. Please select another itinerary.”

Could this be because it is too far in advance to buy the flight? It did the same thing for other flights I clicked on. Just wondering if this is normal.

augustin25
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Nope, it’s not too far in advance. Fares that are no longer available sometimes show up in sites’ systems for a while after the fares sell out (and some sites seem to keep invalid fares in their systems way too long). Keep trying, and sign up for fare alerts.

KED528
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Thank you, I’m going to contact FlyCheapAbroad to see what exactly the issue is. It’s probably what you said.

Don
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A live agent might be able to find availability for you. Do NOT let them pressure you into a sale for a much higher amount unless you’re comfortable with it. You’ve got some time.

KED528
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Hmm…I never contacted the people who run the site but when I just went back to the price listings I am now able to select a flight and proceed with purchasing. However, I’m not exactly ready to reserve my seat just yet. And the prices are just roller coaster-ing each day, two days ago when I looked at it the cheapest was $923, yesterday was $1023 and now back to $923. If this problem arises again I will definitely take your advice, thanks.