Best way to book flights to/in the US?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Joey Hoffnaagle, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Howdy Campers,

    I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with a
    friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)

    Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise whether
    I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight plan with the
    stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way ticket to L.A. and
    then just organising the other legs (and return flight) separately?
    Obviously, it's not exactly cheap season, so I'm trying to keep the price as
    reasonable as possible and I've got a good deal on the table for the first
    leg to L.A. that I'd like to book if it's the best way?

    Can any seasoned travellers throughout the US recommend whether I should
    lock it in and set about looking online for the other legs, or is buying the
    one multi-stop ticket usually more cost-effective. Likewise, what timeframe
    (ie one week before, three months before etc) is generally the best time to
    book the cheapest flights? Finally, can anyone recommend any decent websites
    for domestic flights throughout US and Canada?

    Any and all help is appreciated.
    Joey Hoffnaagle, Nov 8, 2009
    #1
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  2. Joey Hoffnaagle

    Dan C Guest

    On Sun, 08 Nov 2009 21:00:38 +1100, Joey Hoffnaagle wrote:

    > Howdy Campers,
    >
    > I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas
    > with a friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough
    > itinerary; 22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    > 23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    > 29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    > 4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    > 7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)
    >
    > Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise
    > whether I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight
    > plan with the stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way
    > ticket to L.A. and then just organising the other legs (and return
    > flight) separately? Obviously, it's not exactly cheap season, so I'm
    > trying to keep the price as reasonable as possible and I've got a good
    > deal on the table for the first leg to L.A. that I'd like to book if
    > it's the best way?
    >
    > Can any seasoned travellers throughout the US recommend whether I should
    > lock it in and set about looking online for the other legs, or is buying
    > the one multi-stop ticket usually more cost-effective. Likewise, what
    > timeframe (ie one week before, three months before etc) is generally the
    > best time to book the cheapest flights? Finally, can anyone recommend
    > any decent websites for domestic flights throughout US and Canada?
    >
    > Any and all help is appreciated.


    It's generally best to book it all at once, multi-stop as you called it.

    Usually best prices are available if you buy at least 30 days prior to
    flying.

    Some sites for tickets:
    http://www.expedia.com
    http://www.cheaptickets.com
    http://www.travelocity.com


    --
    "Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".
    "Bother!" said Pooh, as he garotted another passing Liberal.
    Usenet Improvement Project: http://twovoyagers.com/improve-usenet.org/
    Dan C, Nov 8, 2009
    #2
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  3. Joey Hoffnaagle

    PeterL Guest

    On Nov 8, 2:00 am, "Joey Hoffnaagle" <> wrote:
    > Howdy Campers,
    >
    > I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with a
    > friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    > 22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    > 23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    > 29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    > 4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    > 7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)
    >
    > Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise whether
    > I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight plan with the
    > stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way ticket to L.A. and
    > then just organising the other legs (and return flight) separately?
    > Obviously, it's not exactly cheap season, so I'm trying to keep the price as
    > reasonable as possible and I've got a good deal on the table for the first
    > leg to L.A. that I'd like to book if it's the best way?
    >
    > Can any seasoned travellers throughout the US recommend whether I should
    > lock it in and set about looking online for the other legs, or is buying the
    > one multi-stop ticket usually more cost-effective. Likewise, what timeframe
    > (ie one week before, three months before etc) is generally the best time to
    > book the cheapest flights? Finally, can anyone recommend any decent websites
    > for domestic flights throughout US and Canada?
    >
    > Any and all help is appreciated.



    Sometimes (like what you are doing, stopping at two different
    countries) it's best to use a travel agent.
    PeterL, Nov 8, 2009
    #3
  4. Joey Hoffnaagle

    John Levine Guest

    >I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with a
    >friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    >22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    >23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    >29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    >4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    >7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)


    I concur with the advice that if you want to do this trip, you should
    book promptly because fares will increase and flights will sell out.

    First, I would make sure you really want to spend that much time on
    airplanes. Vancouver to N.Y. is 4000 km and N.Y. to Vegas is 3600 km,
    which for comparision is about the same as Perth to Brisbane.

    If that what you want to do, I would first get my round trip from
    Sydney to North America. The only cities with service to Sydney are
    L.A., San Francisco, and Vancouver, so if you want to fly back from
    Vegas, you'll have to change in S.F. or L.A., and will probably need a
    separate ticket for that.

    For the flights within the US, there are Visit USA (VUSA) tickets
    available only to non-residents that must be booked abroad, e.g.
    http://www2.usairways.com/en-US/specials/traveldiscountprograms/vusa.html

    They'd probably be a good deal for this itinerary. Some VUSA programs
    include Vancouver, but you'll probably fly through Seattle anyway,
    since there is only one nonstop flight a day to N.Y., the tail end of
    a Cathay Flight from Hong Kong. If you are visiting friends in
    Vancouver, they might be willing to take you to SEA, particularly
    since the C$ is very strong relative to the US$ so it'd give them a
    chance to do some shopping. If you do that, you might reorganize your
    trip to fly directly to Vancouver on a split United/Air Canada ticket.

    If you can find a good agent locally, this is the kind of trip where
    they can really provide value, checking the various VUSA tickets
    against normal fares, looking at some of the low fare airlines that
    don't show up in the regular computers (notably Westjet in Canada,
    Southwest and Jetblue in the US), and figuring out the best overall
    fares and routes for you.

    R's,
    John
    John Levine, Nov 8, 2009
    #4
  5. Joey Hoffnaagle

    G. Morgan Guest

    On Sun, 8 Nov 2009 21:00:38 +1100, "Joey Hoffnaagle" <> wrote:

    >I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with a
    >friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    >22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    >23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    >29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    >4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    >7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)


    >Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise whether
    >I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight plan with the
    >stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way ticket to L.A. and
    >then just organising the other legs (and return flight) separately?


    Sometimes it's cheaper to schedule directly with the airline on their own
    website.

    If you get a great deal from SYD to LAX, stick with that (you're rewarded for
    the round-trip, they may not consider the stops to get the round-trip price).
    And I bet you'll come out ahead by booking the other flights with:

    CheapTickets - Expedia - Hotwire - Orbitz - Priceline - Travelocity

    (I've used Expedia and Priceline with good success)

    All of those airports are going to crowded and miserable, especially that time
    of year. Do yourself a favor and get non-stop service on all your legs, you
    want to land at the fewest places you can. One weather delay at any stop can
    ruin your whole holiday. For instance, I wouldn't want to fly from YVR to JFK
    if I had to stop in Chicago... you're almost guaranteed to get screwed that
    way.
    G. Morgan, Nov 8, 2009
    #5
  6. Joey Hoffnaagle

    A Mate Guest

    Joey I would strongly recommend that you visit your nearest Flight Centre or
    STA office.

    There are many pitfalls in multi city booking over the net when you are not
    experienced - you could inadvertently cost yourself much time (and money).

    Unfortunately the times you are looking to book are super peak times in and
    out of Australia. Fares on the USA - Aust routes have been very cheap (still
    are) but not after Christmas.

    Are you aware of how much time you will be spending in the air covering
    those huge distances. Sydney to LA can take up to 19 hours (depending on the
    routing). LA to Vancouver; Vancouver to NYC; NYC to Las Vegas - all are
    loooong flights


    "Joey Hoffnaagle" <> wrote in message
    news:hd64sd$mp0$-september.org...
    > Howdy Campers,
    >
    > I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with
    > a friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    > 22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    > 23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    > 29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    > 4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    > 7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)
    >
    > Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise
    > whether I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight
    > plan with the stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way ticket
    > to L.A. and then just organising the other legs (and return flight)
    > separately? Obviously, it's not exactly cheap season, so I'm trying to
    > keep the price as reasonable as possible and I've got a good deal on the
    > table for the first leg to L.A. that I'd like to book if it's the best
    > way?
    >
    > Can any seasoned travellers throughout the US recommend whether I should
    > lock it in and set about looking online for the other legs, or is buying
    > the one multi-stop ticket usually more cost-effective. Likewise, what
    > timeframe (ie one week before, three months before etc) is generally the
    > best time to book the cheapest flights? Finally, can anyone recommend any
    > decent websites for domestic flights throughout US and Canada?
    >
    > Any and all help is appreciated.
    >
    A Mate, Nov 9, 2009
    #6
  7. Joey Hoffnaagle

    Dan C Guest

    On Mon, 09 Nov 2009 18:23:11 +1000, A Mate wrote:

    > Are you aware of how much time you will be spending in the air covering
    > those huge distances. Sydney to LA can take up to 19 hours (depending on
    > the routing). LA to Vancouver; Vancouver to NYC; NYC to Las Vegas - all
    > are loooong flights


    How would you suggest he shorten those distances...?


    --
    "Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".
    "Bother!" said Pooh, as he garotted another passing Liberal.
    Usenet Improvement Project: http://twovoyagers.com/improve-usenet.org/
    Dan C, Nov 9, 2009
    #7
  8. The degree to which your itinerary involves Canada lets out some of
    the discount airlines. If ground transportation to/from Vancouver
    works for you, the Seattle airport might open up more such options.
    southwest.com, jetblue.com, usairways.com (a major that seems to have
    absorbed America West, and which serves Vancouver), alaskaair.com, and
    frontierairlines.com are among the sites worth a glance at their route
    map for at least part of your trip, in addition to the major
    international airlines you know about.

    A possibility to keep in mind is the use of secondary airports near
    your destination (possibly nearER your actual ground destination!),
    like Islip, Long Island for NYC or perhaps Burbank, Long Beach, Orange
    County, etc. for the LA area.

    Some of these airlines have software apps (like Southwest's "Ding!")
    or mailing lists for the bargain hunter. Two or three weeks in
    advance will often do -- especially if it is feasible for you to come
    a bit earlier (you're probably staying long enough into January) so as
    to miss the peak of holiday travel, when (a) it's always a zoo and (b)
    the airlines don't have to offer bargains.

    You might want to use these resources to get an idea of the
    possibilities and then consult a travel agent who's familiar with the
    US.

    Enjoy your trip,
    --Joe
    Ad absurdum per aspera, Nov 9, 2009
    #8
  9. Joey Hoffnaagle

    SMS Guest

    Joey Hoffnaagle wrote:
    > Howdy Campers,
    >
    > I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with a
    > friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    > 22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    > 23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    > 29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    > 4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    > 7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)


    Book the Sydney to L.A. round trip and then book the flights in North
    America separately.

    You might look into renting a car for Seattle to Vancouver and back if
    your objective is to save money. The flights to/from Canada are likely
    to be very pricey. There are also buses for about $55 each way.

    Check out JetBlue who prices each segment of their flights separately
    and doesn't charge extra for non-round trips. The downside of JetBlue is
    if they cancel your flight and can't book you on another one of their
    flights, they refund your money for the segment and leave you to
    purchase a full fare, no-advance purchase, ticket on another airline.
    Happened to my mother, and happens to quite a few people apparently.
    SMS, Nov 9, 2009
    #9
  10. Joey Hoffnaagle

    Jeff Hacker Guest

    "Joey Hoffnaagle" <> wrote in message
    news:hd64sd$mp0$-september.org...
    > Howdy Campers,
    >
    > I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with
    > a friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    > 22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    > 23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    > 29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    > 4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    > 7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)
    >
    > Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise
    > whether I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight
    > plan with the stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way ticket
    > to L.A. and then just organising the other legs (and return flight)
    > separately? Obviously, it's not exactly cheap season, so I'm trying to
    > keep the price as reasonable as possible and I've got a good deal on the
    > table for the first leg to L.A. that I'd like to book if it's the best
    > way?
    >
    > Can any seasoned travellers throughout the US recommend whether I should
    > lock it in and set about looking online for the other legs, or is buying
    > the one multi-stop ticket usually more cost-effective. Likewise, what
    > timeframe (ie one week before, three months before etc) is generally the
    > best time to book the cheapest flights? Finally, can anyone recommend any
    > decent websites for domestic flights throughout US and Canada?
    >
    > Any and all help is appreciated.

    Check the oneWorld, Star Alliance, and Skyteam web sites for Circle North
    America fares. Using Qantas and American, United, Air Canada, Continental,
    and US Airways, or Delta, you should be able to put together an itinerary at
    a tolerable airfare. An alternative might be a round-the-world fare using
    one of the alliances and continuing eastbound all the way back to Sydney.

    Based on your particular itinerary, I would suggest Star Alliance as
    follows:
    1. United from Sydney to LAX
    2. United or Air Canada from LAX to Vancouver
    3. Air Canada, US Airways, or United from Vancouver to New York (via
    Toronto, Phoenix, or Chicago, respectively)
    4. US Airways, United or Continental from New York to Las Vegas (via
    Philadelphia or Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland or Houston depending on the
    airline, then US Airways from Las Vegas to LAX and United home.

    One nice thing about this type of itinearary is that they might have a
    favorable Business Class option available, at least on the long haul
    segments.

    Have a great trip.

    Jeff
    Jeff Hacker, Nov 9, 2009
    #10
  11. Joey Hoffnaagle

    A Mate Guest

    I would suggest he carefully look at the time he has allowed himself!!



    "Dan C" <> wrote in message
    news:p...
    > On Mon, 09 Nov 2009 18:23:11 +1000, A Mate wrote:
    >
    >> Are you aware of how much time you will be spending in the air covering
    >> those huge distances. Sydney to LA can take up to 19 hours (depending on
    >> the routing). LA to Vancouver; Vancouver to NYC; NYC to Las Vegas - all
    >> are loooong flights

    >
    > How would you suggest he shorten those distances...?
    >
    >
    > --
    > "Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".
    > "Bother!" said Pooh, as he garotted another passing Liberal.
    > Usenet Improvement Project: http://twovoyagers.com/improve-usenet.org/
    A Mate, Nov 9, 2009
    #11

  12. > One nice thing about this type of itinerary is that they might have a
    > favorable Business Class option available, at least on the long haul
    > segments.


    A good point -- I just spent a total of 14 hours on airplanes in the
    course of a 22-hour-long (body time) travel day, in coach and most of
    it on pretty full flights, which is quite common now that a lot of
    airlines have cut back their capacity to meet lowered demand.
    Fortunately most of this was on Air France, one of the airlines that
    still act as though they appreciate your business, but nonetheless
    the people forward of the curtain seemed to be having a better time.

    By sticking to one alliance as much as you can, you also concentrate
    your frequent-flyer miles instead of spreading them among several
    places where you might never accumulate quite enough to use.

    Something worth mentioning about the Vegas-LA (or really, Vegas-
    anywhere) bit of the itinerary is that it has some of the most
    flexible flight options. You can even take a bus to any number of
    points in the LA area if you're yearning for a ground-level view of
    the desert (well, okay, probably looks a lot like your own desert...)
    and a better or at least different chance to meet people. Getting
    you to and from Vegas, either on a planned basis or on the spur of the
    moment (before your luck runs cold or the girl changes her mind about
    marrying you or whatever), is a big business in the US, and there are
    a lot of choices. Even a one-way car rental might not prove to be
    completely silly if you'd rather try that.

    Alas, I don't think the train service lasted long (1999-2001?) and
    more-recent talk about a futuristic high-speed train was sidetracked
    when the economy derailed. Amtrak offers some ability to book you
    on that route, but AFAIK they just sell the ticket as part of their
    overall service, and the actual trip occurs on a bus.

    --Joe
    Ad absurdum per aspera, Nov 9, 2009
    #12
  13. Joey Hoffnaagle

    Carthell Guest

    On Nov 8, 10:00 am, "Joey Hoffnaagle" <> wrote:
    > Howdy Campers,
    >
    > I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with a
    > friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    > 22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    > 23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    > 29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    > 4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    > 7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)
    >
    > Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise whether
    > I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight plan with the
    > stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way ticket to L.A. and
    > then just organising the other legs (and return flight) separately?
    > Obviously, it's not exactly cheap season, so I'm trying to keep the price as
    > reasonable as possible and I've got a good deal on the table for the first
    > leg to L.A. that I'd like to book if it's the best way?
    >
    > Can any seasoned travellers throughout the US recommend whether I should
    > lock it in and set about looking online for the other legs, or is buying the
    > one multi-stop ticket usually more cost-effective. Likewise, what timeframe
    > (ie one week before, three months before etc) is generally the best time to
    > book the cheapest flights? Finally, can anyone recommend any decent websites
    > for domestic flights throughout US and Canada?
    >
    > Any and all help is appreciated.


    Note: your baggage will add a variable cost to your domestic flights
    (except on Southwest,
    which makes a point of not charging for baggage); be prepared to pay
    at the airport. I have
    yet to hear of a ground transport company that charges for baggage.

    -d
    Carthell, Nov 20, 2009
    #13
  14. Joey Hoffnaagle

    Jeff Hacker Guest

    "Carthell" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    On Nov 8, 10:00 am, "Joey Hoffnaagle" <> wrote:
    > Howdy Campers,
    >
    > I'm currently planning a visit to Canada/US based to spend Christmas with
    > a
    > friend and New Years at Times Square based on the rough itinerary;
    > 22nd Dec - Sydney to L.A.
    > 23rd Dec - L.A. to Vancouver
    > 29th Dec - Vancouver to New York
    > 4th Jan - New York to Las Vegas
    > 7th Jan - Las Vegas to Sydney (Via L.A.?)
    >
    > Having never really booked a trip with stop-overs, can anyone advise
    > whether
    > I'm likely to be better off trying to book a multi-city flight plan with
    > the
    > stopovers - or just buying a normal return or one way ticket to L.A. and
    > then just organising the other legs (and return flight) separately?
    > Obviously, it's not exactly cheap season, so I'm trying to keep the price
    > as
    > reasonable as possible and I've got a good deal on the table for the first
    > leg to L.A. that I'd like to book if it's the best way?
    >
    > Can any seasoned travellers throughout the US recommend whether I should
    > lock it in and set about looking online for the other legs, or is buying
    > the
    > one multi-stop ticket usually more cost-effective. Likewise, what
    > timeframe
    > (ie one week before, three months before etc) is generally the best time
    > to
    > book the cheapest flights? Finally, can anyone recommend any decent
    > websites
    > for domestic flights throughout US and Canada?
    >
    > Any and all help is appreciated.


    Note: your baggage will add a variable cost to your domestic flights
    (except on Southwest,
    which makes a point of not charging for baggage); be prepared to pay
    at the airport. I have
    yet to hear of a ground transport company that charges for baggage.

    -d

    If the OP books the entire itinerary on one record, including a special fare
    (i.e., Star Alliance / OneWorld visit North America, etc.), the entire
    journey gets the international baggage allowance which is probably 2 free
    bags.
    Jeff Hacker, Nov 21, 2009
    #14
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