Post # 1
Hi my dear bees!!!
Once again I am asking for advice. Basically we are having our honeymoon in Europe. We are doing a cruise through Royal Caribbean. It will be like our tenth cruise and we know someone who works there, so we got a decent price!! hooray!! Sidenote: We asked our guests to give us things that wouldn’t cost them anything if they could, so people are gifting us watching our dogs, one let us use their timeshare for our destination wedding, and another just happened to work at Royal Caribbean! Score! (She got us in a top penthouse suite on the back of the ship with a balcony and private tub for the price of an inside room for ONE person. It cost her nothing since she couldn’t go anyways, and we get this awesome chance for our dream trip).
Anyways, we need to fly to Barcelona and then back from Venice. I have been trying to find a decent price on airfare but the cost is so high. I checked farecompare, kayak, travelocity, priceline, expedia, orbitz, and cheaptickets. The cruise line prices on airfare are the same range but they can offer us an American Airlines flight that will get us in earlier so we can go on a tour of Barcelona before leaving.
I’ve never booked a flight through a cruise line, and am not sure if it’s a good idea. If we booked through TAP Portugal we would get in a bit later (about an hour) but I am not sure if they are any good, or the savings would be worth it since they don’t have great reviews.
I just feel like the airfare is killing us, but we got such a nice deal from our friend who works there that we really want to go because it seems like a once in a lifetime chance for us. We are already booked, but obviously need to save as much $$ as possible…
So my questions for all my bees:
- How do you book international airfare? Do you know a good site that I am missing?
- Have you flown American Airlines internationally? How was it?
- Have you flown TAP Portugal internationally? How was that?
- Have you booked airfare through the cruise lines or on your own, and have experience to share?
Thank you ladies!!!!!
Post # 3
I have always booked internationally on my own. I check everything, expedia, kayak etc. I don’t have a particular favortie airline. I usually just go with the cheapest. I havnt been on AA since pre 9/11 so Im sure things have changed. Im in philly and since US airways uses this place as a hub its what I use the most. I flew to Barcelona almost 2 years ago for $900 non stop.
Post # 4
I always check Kayak for flights since it filters everything and usually shows the best deals.
I think the issue you’re having with price is that you’re flying into one place and leaving from another. I find that online searches are really not the best for this because they tend to charge you for each flight invidually. For example, we’re stopping over in Paris on the way to our final destination and want to stay for a few days. Every online source priced our tickets at $4k+ each because it was breaking down the flights. When I called a travel agency I got the tickets for $1400 each because they could just select a later departure from Paris.
I just did a quick search for flights to Barcelona from FLL and it’s about $800 return which is typical.
Post # 5
It must be the time….I can’t seem to find anything under $1200 🙁
Post # 6
I think you are going on a cruise we almost picked. We are finally decided on a 12 days Greek Isles & Mediterranean From Rome to Venice on Princess which starts on Sept 9th, like you it is a trip of a lifetime. We have been searching for airfare as well (leaving from Canada or US (Buffalo) It is so expensive. My Fiance is doing most of the research but I would love to stay in touch with you as we have have the same questions as you have posted. I will share any info we find out and if you could do the same that would be great!
Post # 7
@MrsDulce: I so wish I could go on a cruise you are. The airfare kills it for me. Good luck in your hunt for better prices! When Fiance and I looked for giggles, we were getting the same amount you were.
Post # 8
Airfare really seems to be increasing across the board. You might be able to find a good deal if you just keep your eyes open, but it seems harder lately for some reason. I haven’t booked airfare with a cruiseline before but if the price is about the same, you might get an additional level of protection / ease..rather than booking entirely separately.
Any chance someone is planning to gift you airline miles?
Post # 9
Ugh, I have been checking daily for Italy tickets for the past 2 months for Sept/Oct. They have been stuck at 1200-1300.
Post # 10
Don’t forget that you could book a return trip to Barcelona to reduce the cost, then book a sione way flight from Venice to Barcelona on a European airline for probably about $100.
Look on http://www.tripadvisor.com for the European segments and ask questions in the forum for recommendations.
You can also check the forums on http://www.cruisecritic.com for recommendations on flights.
Post # 11
I’ve flown with AA over a dozen times internationally and I work in the aviation industry.
You will get comperable service flying TAP – Don’t worry about using them.
The only advantage to booking through the cruiseline is that it sometimes offers some protection against missing your cruise. You will not get that if you book independently, but if you get insurance you will see no difference.
My favorite site for comparing airfare is: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/
If I were you, I would compare Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm. Even consider looking at flights out of Orlando and catching a $9 Spirit flight to Orlando.
AA is starting some new BCN routes from Miami. They are currently on sale for about $750 round trip in April (I am assuming you’re going then).
Iberia is another good option – They codeshare with AA as well.
Post # 12
We always fly TAP while visiting family in Portugal and never had any problems I feel safer on their planes, My last trip I had to use Continental because Tap was booked and had a three hour delay due to mechanical problems, as far as pricing it’s normally high during certain times of the year like, christmas, easter and summer vacations etc…good luck with your search.
Post # 13
Your best bet is definitely to book a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale-Barcelona, and then book a flight Venice-Barcelona. Inter-European flights are fairly low-cost (it might be around $100 each? Maybe a bit more). Roundtrip FLL-BCN are around $800 per person, add the extra hundred, and even adding the possibility of needing to book a night into a hotel in Venice or Barcelona if your flights don’t line up, and you’re still WAY less than flying FLL-BCN-VCE-FLL. Booking roundtrip will always be a better deal than one-way tickets.
I fly internationally often for work (to Africa, but through Europe) and I prefer the European airlines when it’s possible. I always use expedia and similar sites to check prices but I then check the airlines that I want to fly and book through the airline directly – typically the flights are the same (or less!) than the travel website’s price, and I personally feel more secure booking directly with the airline than through a third-party broker. I would also feel the same way about booking through the cruiseline, but I’ve never done that so take that with a grain of salt.
I’m pretty sure I’ve flown AA internationally before and it wasn’t particularly noteworthy. Not the worst I’ve flown though 🙂
BTW- that’s a really great idea about gifting different kinds of things as opposed to physical things. And it sounds like it’s working out nicely for you guys, too!
Post # 14
@deefirecracker: sounds good!! I will message you when we finally buy for sure!
I took some of the poster’s advice and looked into getting a flight from Venice to Barcelona so we could do the round trip thing. I found a super cheap fare…only about $50 each!! but, right now it isn’t making sense to do that because the price is like the same for the multiple destination as the straightforward roundtrip. I am super happy to hear that @DulceR: had a good experience on TAP because they actually cut about $350 off the airfare per person on a good day, coming in right at $1k. The savings would allow us to spend an extra night in Lisbon and still come in under budget! I’m talking to Fiance about it since right now it looks liek we are between TAP and booking through the cruiseline (Choice Air).
Post # 15
I’m not a cruise expert but I thought the motivation to book through the cruise line is that they will provide some sort of support if the flight or ship is delayed and you miss a connection? For me, this would be worth the additional cost of using the cruise line in case a flight is cancelled or delayed or the ship gets into port late. I guess it also depends on how much time you have, if you have an overnight before and after you have a bit more flexibility.
Post # 16
allows you to set email alerts for when fares between certain airports drop below normal. Just set your airport combinations and check your email!