Rebooking and 2021 Prices



  • AlanS - Since most of the airports are common, if price is reasonably close I'd opt for fewer stops. If you go the two stop route I'd take ATL over JFK. My personal bias, avoid LHR and JFK if possible.

  • Smiling Sam

    AlanS - Since most of the airports are common, if price is reasonably close I'd opt for fewer stops. If you go the two stop route I'd take ATL over JFK. My personal bias, avoid LHR and JFK if possible.

    I always try to avoid LHR if at all possible. It is getting harder with Delta, but I also try to avoid European connections (AMS, CDG, etc.) altogether. We can usually get a direct flight from RDU to CDG, but I would rather fly to ATL or JFK first if I can get a direct flight from either to our destination.

  • On our Israel / Jordan tour we flew through Istanbul to/from Toronto on Turkish Airlines (as you like, skipping connections in Europe). We found the airline to be quite nice and the business class lounge in Istanbul is excellent. It is just a short hop from Istanbul to any of the Egypt, Israel, Jordan cities. Not sure if you've ever considered that route before or if they are even available from your area. You can probably do something similar from JFK, WAS, or ATL.

  • I, too, took Turkish home from Amman to Boston and it was great -- though I did have a long layover in IST. This was after my Lufthansa flights had been cancelled and I cancelled my Plan B Royal Jordanian flight through Chicago because we were encouraged to leave the tour early because Jordan was closing its airport. I wouldn't hesitate to fly them again. (You could easily get to AMM from RDU on Royal Jordanian, Alan, but the return trip from Cairo would be difficult and long.)

  • When I was looking at options to fly home from Amman, I looked into Royal Jordanian. There were a lot of bad reviews online, so I went with Lufthansa to FRA (being aware of their "fake" business class, as used within Europe, leaving the middle seat of an economy row empty) and United from FRA to DEN.

  • I believe that's the typical intra-European business class. I've flown that way on many airlines -- KLM, Aer Lingus, British, Lufthansa, Air France.

  • edited May 2020

    Using the Turkish Air for the entire trip starting and ending in RDU (with connections in Newark and Istanbul on the outbound and Istanbul and Toronto on the inbound legs for March flights, the Turkish Air website price was more than double what we paid for our January Delta/Air France to flights (what we still have now) and what a mix* of Delta and Egyptair would be in March (which is a tad more than our Jan Delta tickets.) The TK price really gets bumped up when you start and end in RDU. If I start/end in IAD or EWR the TK fare is within a few hundred of the Delta fare from RDU. If I were to fly Turkish Air, I would use a mixed carrier routing for the legs from/to RDU rather than all TK and that would add to the TK price.

    It is weird, Air France is still showing no flights from Cairo after 28 March 2021, so don't know what is going on.

    *For pricing I used the Delta and Egyptair websites. Outbound: RDU - CDG - AMM on Delta/Airfrance. Inbound: CAI **- **FRA on Egyptair + FRA - ATL - RDU on Delta. Lufthansa actually operates the Egyptair flight.

    On the inbound routing we would need to claim and recheck our bags in FRA, but, depending on which inbound Delta flights we choose we would have either a 2 hr or 2+55 layover in FRA which should be plenty of time to deal with bags.

    Anyway, what ever happens, it appears possible. Now I just need to make it to the top of the waitlist! It is still showing (false?) "Limited" availability ;)

  • AlanS - I think what you've discovered is what airline shopping is all about. You have to search all North America departure cities to get the best business class ticket that crosses an ocean, either going east or west. When I did the Israel/Jordan tour the Turkish airlines business class to/from Toronto via Istanbul was $1000 per person cheaper than any other route/airline at the time. We used American miles to get to/from Toronto. Using American miles within North America is way easier than trying to use them overseas.

    Also like you spoke about the high adder than often happens for tickets to/from RDU, the same thing occurs for Tucson (TUS). Our most common exit point from the states is LAX, Business class tickets from LAX are often $800-$1000 cheaper than if booked from Tucson, but not always, so you always have to check. If I must I book a separate cheap reservation for the one hour flight from Tucson to LAX.

    For our upcoming October Egypt tour we got a business fare of $2200 (which was $800 - $900 cheaper) round trip from Tucson via American. The trick here was we had to fly one extra day early so we had to pay for an extra night, beyond the Gift of Time night, at the Marriot Mena House. Even doing that we still saved over $500 per person on the airfare and got an extra night to boot. This route goes Tucson - Dallas - Rome - Cairo. The Rome - Cairo leg is on Alatalia (an American partner). It was the cheapest and the quickest. This bargain is one more reason why the cancelling (if/when it happens) of the Egypt trip will be a downer.

  • Sam - Did you book the extra night on your own or through Tauck? Asking because I once did similar and going through Tauck, the price was way higher.
    Also, ddid you know Alitalia is an acronym. Do you know what it stands for? (you're on your honor not to google it)

  • BKMD - I did book the extra night through Tauck, for the convenience and you are correct it is way higher than what you see on the internet. I don't know what Alitalia stands for but I'd guess (with no googling) Airline of Italy.

  • Always late in takeoff and late in arrivals

  • edited May 2020

    BKMD - I should have guessed you were looking for a funny response. I guess they’re related to Ford- Fix Or Repair Daily or Fiat - Fix it again Tony.

  • The name SABENA (the old Belgian airline) is also an acronym. Those of us who flew it said that it stood for

    Such A Bad Experience Never Again

    The only good thing about it was Bos-Bru was never full and you could lie down on 3 seats in the middle of the plane in economy

  • Smiling Sam Awesome you were able to score business class seats for $2200. I thought I snagged a good deal. I booked through American Express for $3700. Tauck's air quote for JE was ~7K and $11K if I chose the British Airways flight thru LH (albeit that one had only 1 stop). The only time I ever paid $10K for a flight was for Aus/New Zealand. I'm sure the published airfares may increase as we get closer to departure. Since Tauck now classifies JE as an exotic trip-- meaning airfare had to be paid when booked--I decided to book on my own. Thank goodness for trip insurance and the current lenient change policies being offered by the airlines (United).This is also a reason I am hoping the trip goes on as scheduled. Keeping our fingers crossed!

  • Then there's Portugal's airline, TAP - take another plane.

  • Such cards!! :D

    Smiling Sam
    AlanS - I think what you've discovered is what airline shopping is all about.

    I have always done a lot of what if . . . but usually with Delta since we have received such great service from them and I have status. We flew Delta booked by Tauck on our first Tauck trip years ago, but discovered, since it was a special fare not available to all, we didn't earn full Skymiles- I called and questioned Delta who directed me to some extra fine print which confirmed it! :D I can usually beat Tauck's business fares by $1000 - $2000 or more. Sometimes booking at the first possible day (330 day window) I really get the lowest fare, but that isn't my #1 priority. I put shortest enroute time and shortest/fewest layovers and best aircraft/seating slightly ahead of price. Sometimes I will even accept a longer enroute time for better seating. If at all possible, we try to get an aircraft with 1-2-1 business class seating, so we both have aisle access, and full-flat seats.

    The one time we intentionally deviated from Delta we took Ethiopian Air to K&T. It had 2-3-2 seating but was by far the cheapest and actually a great flight on a nice plane with only one short but "interesting" layover in Addis Ababa then were on a brand new 787 to Kilimanjaro. But, based on the incidents since then (landing a 777 at Arusha Muni instead of Kilimanjaro and the 737 Max crash, etc.), we would have think long and hard about flying with them again.

    Alitalia is a Skyteam and Delta partner. Are you sure you aren't flying a OneWorld partner, Royal Jordanian, from Rome to Amman?

  • edited May 2020

    AlanS - I’m sure it is Alitalia. I have my seats. They don’t usually appear on American, so maybe it was some special deal. Likely won’t matter. Also it is Rome to Cairo, not Amman.

    I saw some predictions yesterday from some scientists (data modelers) from Singapore that predicted when a lot of countries would be “past” the coronavirus. They predicted October 22nd for the USA. Most of the counties they listed were between August and October of 2020. Take that with a grain of salt. You can probably Google if you want to get more specifics.

    Here's a snippet:

    Data scientists have attempted to answer the question on everyone’s mind: When will the coronavirus pandemic end?

    Their predictions use a mathematical model known as SIR (susceptible, infected, recovered), which calculates the spread and recovery of diseases.

    Researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) fed the model data on confirmed infections, tests conducted, and deaths recorded, to estimate the life cycle of COVID-19.

    Globally, their system predicts the pandemic will end this December. But the end date is estimated to vary immensely among nations, from June in Australia to October in Italy.

    [Read: AI predicts where coronavirus cases will spike next]

    The researchers warn that both the model and the data can’t accurately capture the complexity and dynamic nature of the disease. But they still believe the predictions can support proactive planning that avoids starting lockdowns too late or relaxing restriction too early.

  • PureLuxury - I draw the line on business class at $4k per person. At that point I switch to Economy Comfort. The only time I had to do that so far is for the Kenya and Tanzania Classic Safari. For that one we booked with KLM to/from LAX via Amsterdam. I’ve never been bold enough to fly airlines like Ethiopian Airlines to get lower fares. I also try to avoid the European “business” class. If I can’t, I want the flight to be as short as possible (under 2 hours). I’m 6’6” so the pain increases, the longer the flight on those configurations.

  • I can’t believe the Pandemic will be over in a few months because people are being stupid about obeying Social distancing. The second wave is already happening. This is a nasty cunning virus. It will be with us for years. Maybe a vaccine next year That will be impossible to get hold of for most of us. I bet the regular flu vaccine which we have every year will be snsppped up by people who have never bothered getting it before.

  • Smiling Sam saw your post on the trip from Tucson. We live in Tucson and have never been able to find anything out of Tucson we always have to go to Phoenix. I might start trying Tucson although we are near Catalina and it’s almost halfway to Phoenix.

    British,I think your right. We are being very hesitant to rebook our missed trip for April 2021. Even if things have opened, will the travel industry infrastructure be somewhat stable. Nobody really knows. As I write this, I’m thinking just book it and leave it up to Tauck.

    General question if you have Tauck do airfare, can you specify, well anything? Airline, acceptable class, time?

  • S35flyer - It's rare that I book an international trip straight from Tucson because of the price, but I always look and compare. If the prices are close I prefer to book from Tucson because then everything is on one reservation. We live near Sabino Canyon so Phoenix is a much longer trip, plus the airport isn't as easy (since it's larger) and the parking is more expensive. Like I've said on previous posts our most frequent destination airport, from a reservation standpoint, is LAX, but we've used Toronto and Vancouver as well (for whatever reason sometimes the Canadian cities have amazing business class prices). We flew out of Vancouver going to/from the Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand trip with JAL, saving hundreds of dollars per person (even accounting for the cost of getting to/from Vancouver). JAL was outstanding. We flew out of Toronto to/from the Israel/Jordan tour with Turkish Air. Turkish Air was also outstanding. For most of the other tours it has been from LAX, but a few have been from Tucson.

    The risk/issue with booking two reservations to save money is that you usually have to plan in an extra buffer between the reservations to allow for issues. Since, if one reservation messes up the other one you're pretty much on your own. We had a close call on our Israel/Jordan tour. We flew on one reservation via American from Tucson to Dallas and then to Toronto (and the reverse on the way home). The other reservation was via Turkish Air from Toronto to Istanbul to Tel Aviv and then Amman to Istanbul to Toronto on the way home. I allowed for a 4 hour connection in Toronto to make the Turkish Air connection. We left Tucson and got to Dallas on time. We loaded and backed away from the gate in Dallas on time. Before takeoff someone on the plane had a medical emergency so the plane had to return to the gate. I immediately figured we were toast for the Turkish connection so I got on the internet and started looking for alternate routes to Tel Aviv. As it turned out the medical emergency only cost us 90 minutes so we made it to Toronto with time to spare. If we hadn't I would have been on the hook for several hundred dollars for an alternate route to Tel Aviv so as to not miss the tour's beginning. These issues are why I prefer a single reservation, where if things go haywire the airlines you booked with will figure something out. I'm usually willing to take this risk and spend "some" additional time to/from a tour if the cost savings are significant (>$700 per person). When the international departure is LAX it reduces the risk in my mind since it's a single one hour flight with multiple options. As the international departure point is farther from Tucson the risk increases.

  • S35flyer

    . . . . As I write this, I’m thinking just book it and leave it up to Tauck.

    General question if you have Tauck do airfare, can you specify, well anything? Airline, acceptable class, time?

    British has worked with Tauck air quite a bit so she will have a better answer and YMMV, but Tauck will book the available routing (with limitations) you desire and length of layover if you are in no hurry, but only on airlines that they have contracts with which is a fairly short list of the major carriers. If you need a feeder flight that is not offered by one of their contracted carriers/alliances (Sky Team, OneWorld, Star Alliance), you'll need to book that yourself. You can choose cabin class but I don't know if they do all classes like Air France La Première. They do not accept points or miles.

  • Smiling Sam - referring to your 9:26 AM post, I presume when you book separate reservations, you need to retrieve your bag and check it for the next flight on your own - correct? If so, when you retrieve your bag from Tucson to Tornto for your next flight, do you have to do anything with Canadian customs/immigration or is there a transit area where you can avoid that additional step?

  • S35flyer. We have not booked flights with Tauck for The past few trips. But they will book any flight or airline you want and whatever class. But you may have to pay upfront as if you were booking it yourself. It took us several tours to realize this. The only reason we generally book our own flights now is that we can usually but not always get better prices booking through Amex and getting five times the points.

  • We've mostly booked thru Tauck but not the trip we have on the books now mainly because by the time I got around to doing it they didn't have any options that we were happy with. I booked direct thru Delta but had to pay up front and will have to deal with them if this year's trip gets canceled or the flights get canceled.

    Yes, you have control over what flights you get but are limited to what contracts Tauck has negotiated. Thrill They tell you what flights, airlines, prices, etc then you decide what you want from that. Do research on your own first then call Tauck and see what they have to offer. If Tauck offers something close to or better than I can do on my own I'll book with them.

    The only thing you might not be able to control with Tauck is seat reservations for coach. They put in your preferences but it ultimately is the airline who decides. On our first transatlantic flight with them our seats both coming and going were changed after checkin. They actually ended up better than the originals. Since then we've paid for upgrades to Comfort or BC and then it's fairly well locked in.

  • I have had Tauck book the flights on 2 of my past trips, however, the only thing I didn't like about it is that, as Claudia mentioned, you may not be able to get seat reservations and this is true of business class also. The one trip I booked about 4 years ago was for business class and I was hoping to get seats by my friend as he was able to get seat assignments thru the channel he used. When I finally received my tickets as the trip got closer, the best seats were gone and I ended up in the last row of the cabin which was not great as you typically have people from economy class standing in the small foyer area right behind the seat with only a curtain to block out the disturbances. I even had an economy passenger leaning on the back of my seat until I rang for the flight attendant and she shooed him away and closed the curtain. Geeeezzz. I would say that is the only draw back but perhaps there is some way to get around that by paying extra money to hold a seat reservation, I don't know.

  • BKMD - When I go the two reservation route we do have to retrieve our bags and recheck them. We did not have to go through Canadian customs though, there is a connecting flight path that you proceed through. That was also the case when we did it through Vancouver. Picking up the bags and rechecking them is one of the reasons that you have to build in a buffer when you go the two reservation route. The savings have to be significant like I said (>700 per person) to make the two reservation route worth it. That said, saving $1400 to $2000 total for my wife and I goes a ways towards the downpayment on our next tour.

  • Travel Maven, I have, on occasion used Tauck to book my air. You need to have your booking ID to get a seat assignment. I was informed that the only way to get the booking ID is to pay for the air portion in full. This may have changed, but that is what I experienced.

  • Golly_Gee. Thanks for the input, good to know for the future.

  • Golly gee, that is the experience have had back before Tauck could directly book Delta Comfort. I'd book the basic flight with Tauck, pay that cost then go to Delta with the confirmation and pay the upgrade and pick our seats. Last year Tauck had changed things and I could get the Comfort seats booked directly with them and picked out seats. Things keep changing.

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