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Old May 9, 00, 1:01 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Posts: 1
Cheapest way to schedule multi-city trip?

Hello there, I am completely new to travelling so please forgive me if I am asking an obvious question.

I will be travelling all over the US later this summer. My itinerary is flexible. However, I have no idea how to schedule when I go where in order to come up with the cheapest cost. I will be spending 2 or 3 days in anywhere from 6 - 10 major US cities.

I can do it all in one trip, or split it up in order to not get hit with the weekday business traveler's fares, which are outrageous. But I cannot do each city over a weekend...that would take too long, despite the Saturday night stay deals.

Of course I am considering getting a travel agent to do the work for me, but how do I trust that the agent really got me the best deal? Plus I tend to like to do things myself - I'm a wee bit of a control freak Obviously I would try to get it all on one airline in order to get some FF miles, although I still need to do the research on which program is the most user-friendly.

Any assistance would be very much appreciated. Thank you for reading this!

spygrrl

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Old May 9, 00, 1:30 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: SEA
Posts: 3,181
First off, welcome to FlyerTalk.

Now, your questions could fill volumes...so you need to answer some questions before any of us can offer to help. I'm sure I'll forget a few, but others will pick-up on this topic also.

1. Do you have an airline preference, or member of any specific FF programs? If not, you definitely want to join 1 or more to maximize your earning potential.
2. Based in Chicago, your obvious choices would seem to be UA or AA, but not totally necessarily.
3. What cities will you be travelling to? With airline alliances & geographics, this could make a difference which 'primary' or 'secondary' airline you choose.
4. How big a factor are expenses? It sounds like you may be able to split it up into a few trips, taking advantage of Saturday stays for better fares.
5. You say your itinerary is flexible. Does that mean the time is flexible or when you visit certain cities, or both?

I could probably ask about 10 more questions to help qualify your request, but won't. It might only confuse you more...

Some of these basics will help to formulate a strategy for you. More details will follow your responses.

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Old May 9, 00, 5:37 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: St Paul 02/04...not flying Delta
Posts: 2,274
Spygrrl, your name and email address look familiar to me...have we met in Chicago?
Anyway, Southwest has some pretty good fares out of Midway. Also if the cities/dates are not critical no pressing schedule or commitments) the e-fares on United and AA are a good deal. Short notice, but low cost. You might want to register at each site, www.ua.com and www.aa.com to get added to the emailing list.
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Old May 9, 00, 6:42 pm   #4
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Location: Kirkland, WA
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If you stick with one airline you should be able to make a "circle trip" with the cheapest fares, so long as you stay over one Saturday. This is a little-known fact. You can try playing with it yourself on www.united.com. First make sure you are in "expert" mode. You set this in your "profile." Then make sure you always choose flights that have a digit other than 0 following the "cheap" fare codes, usually Q, V, and W.

You may be more comfortable using a United phone agent or a travel agent, but the total fare should be equal to half the round-trip fares between all the city pairs.

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Old May 9, 00, 9:28 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
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One tip I can give you right off the bat - fly out of MDW! You can do midweek fares out there virtually anywhere for a good price!

I'll need to travel there from BDL (Hartford, CT) later this summer. Fares are ~$200 with no Saturday stay.

Where are some of the cities you are heading to?

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Old May 10, 00, 11:55 am   #6
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Jersey City
Posts: 1,321
i thought many us airlines offer the airpass systems to foriegn travelers, just like foreign airlines do for visitors from the us. usually you buy a book of coupons in conjunction with your roundtrip airfare for about $80-100 per coupon. you should have your travel agent enquire about that with the major carriers.
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Old May 10, 00, 11:58 am   #7
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Jersey City
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Quote:
Originally posted by lonman:
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