Higher Airfare vs Chances and Uncertainty

edited July 2022 in General

It required some serious weighing of factors and making trade-offs before I purchased our flights for next May. While not the most expensive we have ever purchased they were close and certainly the most expensive for the distance traveled. We could have purchased much less expensive flights but made a conscious decision not to do so since every alternative required a connecting flight at JFK, ATL, etc. What a sorry state of affairs!

We chose flights from RDU, our feeder, that go direct, non-stop to CDG for reasons you can imagine. We are still a little gun-shy after last May's troubles getting to and from Greece via JFK- it took over two days, we almost didn't make it at all, and nearly lost our luggage. Unfortunately, next year's trip also falls over Memorial Day weekend like our Greece trip this year.

The flights we selected this time don't rely on feeder flights to JFK or ATL, so there are fewer chances of cancellations, connection delays, missed flights, lost luggage, etc.. If we are late getting out of RDU we'll just be late getting into CDG. Also, the total en-route time is shorter by 2 hr or more in both directions.

On the negative side- the fare is much higher, we will have an older business class cabin and seats, and there is only one direct flight out of RDU to CDG per day if our flight gets cancelled.

It is hard enough to find the perfect flights at the right price already, now we must also take into account all the problems with the airline industry.


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    I am thinking of researching the different companies that send luggage ahead internationally to the destination. I know my travel agent uses them for other clients but I haven’t yet.

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    AlanS - That sounds safer.

    But this option, I suspect, is a very limited option for you since the options where you can fly to, from RDU are limited. It works for your next tour - Normandy, Brittany, Paris, & the Loire Valley.

    What are your plans to gain that added safety factor for any future tours that you can't fly directly to/from the tour, from RDU?

    We have done something similar for our upcoming Egypt tour. We passed on the cheapest fare possibility for a number of reasons:

    a) We wanted to avoid European business class flight legs
    b) We wanted to deal with as few airlines as possible - I consider partner airlines as additional airlines because sometimes even though you book the entire trip through one airline you may want to/have to pay some additional fees directly to the partner airlines for things like seat reservations.

    Our attempt at solving this current Airline/Baggage issue in this Covid impacted world was to plan a trip to visit family in a portal city (in our case Seattle) staying a few days before our trip to Egypt and staying a few days after our return from Egypt. This allowed us to:

    a) Allow a few days to get our bags to Seattle, in case there is a bag issue. This is a direct flight.
    b) Book our entire tour flight solely with Qatar Airlines - Seattle-Doha-Cairo. Thought being dealing with only one airline would be easier for baggage handling, refunds if need be, etc.

    We will see how it works out.

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    Personally, I would not consider sending luggage ahead. What would happen if yoy had to cancel last minute and you had already sent your luggage? It happens, even more in Covid times. Also, do hotels know what to do with luggage that appears but bo one with it, do you have to contact the hotel and let them know it is coming in advance of you. If all this is worry about luggage being lost or delayed, I’d be just as concerned sending it ahead.

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    British, look at this company that sends luggage, golf clubs, bicycles ahead to worldwide destinations. They’ve been in business for quite some time so they must be doing something right. luggageforward.com
    I’m not saying I’m going to try it; just looking at the positives and negatives. I’m in Canada right now, and a significant amount of people had their luggage delayed.

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    I learned this past week that Air France allows 2 carry-ons in business class. I'm taking a European size hard-sided carry-on (that is very light-weight) and an old gym bag as carry-on luggage on my upcoming trip of almost 3 weeks. I have done a "practice packing" and I have room to spare. People will see me in a lot of the same clothes, but it eases my mind.

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    Unfortunately, with all things related to air travel the way they are right now, a process that was only slightly challenging, yet fun and with little risk, now becomes a chore and a crap shoot. Using a TA just takes you partially out of the equation, but doesn't solve the current underlying issues.

    Air travel seems to have changed for the worse- higher fares, fewer flights, more connections(?), significantly higher risk of delays and outright cancellations. Has anything improved; are there any bright spots- maybe the expansion of Middle East Airlines like Qatar and Emirates?

    Like Sam, we could have saved a considerable amount of money by flying out of Dulles and going to our daughter's house in N.VA which is only 15 min. from the airport. However, getting there requires driving on I-95 or flying a connector out of RDU which adds to the cost and risk. When you include drive time to RDU, the total time to N.VA for both is pretty much the same- about 6 hours!! Years ago we drove to N.VA to catch Ethiopian flights to K&T. It was but before our daughter lived there so we stayed at a hotel near the airport where we were able to leave our car for free while we were gone. Back then, the difference in fares made it well worth it. Now, wear and tear on our bodies and time are more important.

    The price we are willing to pay for convenience! :o:o

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    Definitely clear any deliveries with the hotel beforehand. In 2019 my London hotel, citizenM, would not allow a small parcel from UK to show up ahead of me. Fortunately I was changing hotels, and the second smaller hotel had no problem holding it for me.

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    Best laid plans…we’ve tried for non-stops, booked months ahead and surprise! The non-stops changed (especially during the pandemic) to an additional stop. Just happened this spring with our upcoming Tauck trip. Praying we don’t get delayed and suddenly our one stop now goes via LHR instead direct to MUN! Alas…praying it goes as planned!

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