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Speculative TATL UA bookings pros and cons

Speculative TATL UA bookings pros and cons

Old Mar 22, 21, 7:05 pm
  #1  
exp
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Speculative TATL UA bookings pros and cons

Just looked at some fares in the coming months, all international (TATL). A lot of low fares, probably P fares. Presumably not a lot of demand since there are so many uncertainties, like when one might get fully vaccinated, whether the EU will open to American tourists this year, whether or not they're vaccinated.

If say a month from now the EU announces that they will welcome Americans, one would think all these fares would shoot up, though the end of the year?

So what's the main downside, that either Americans are not admitted this year or that these flights are canceled and you end up with a lot of flight credits (or refunds if UA cancels or changes the schedule by more than 2 total hours for outbound/return?)?

You would presumably have what, 2 years to use these credits but obviously you're tied up thousands of dollars? Add to that hotel and car bookings -- and credits for hotels may be more risky since some of the smaller hotels could go out of business before you can use credits?


The other uncertainty is when you might be vaccinated and protected. So for instance, if you make bookings now for early June and then you have to reschedule the flight/hotel/car a month later, some or all of these reservations may not be available say in early July if you tried to change the dates say in late April or May.

The "safe" thing would be to book for July, because presumably you'd be able to get your first shot starting in early May at the latest and be "protected" by mid June.


So anyone thinking now about at least buying tickets, booking hotels for a TATL itinerary starting in July?
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Old Mar 22, 21, 7:22 pm
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Not sending airlines money, just so I can get some airline monopoly money back in the form of credits.

Hotels and other travel arrangements I usually book a week prior to departure or less anyway...have never seen large uptick in prices. Also, I don't go to places everyone else goes to.

Worst case scenario, award redemption via point transfers to various airlines if cash prices are high.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 7:36 pm
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Originally Posted by exp View Post

So anyone thinking now about at least buying tickets, booking hotels for a TATL itinerary starting in July?
No, not booking anything until I hear definitive news. Also not interested in being in the group of bleeding edge travelers. Prefer to let the dust settle.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 7:48 pm
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Why bother? Even if Europe gets its current wave under control, I still have to think they will set restrictive quarantine rules for non-EU citizens coming to visit.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 8:04 pm
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
Why bother? Even if Europe gets its current wave under control, I still have to think they will set restrictive quarantine rules for non-EU citizens coming to visit.
My bet is Great Britain opens to U.S citizens before December. I've got AC tickets HNL-LHR from a cancellation last year. I'm not sure what the incentive there is to buy now, though - I doubt business travel will rebound as quickly as United's capacity will. The only annoying thing to me is the British Pound has been pounding the U.S. Dollar over the 12 months (funny how one doesn't notice exchange rates when one doesn't travel overseas for a while) - my hotel is going to be more expensive (but again, occupancy rates might factor in).
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Old Mar 22, 21, 8:05 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
Why bother? Even if Europe gets its current wave under control, I still have to think they will set restrictive quarantine rules for non-EU citizens coming to visit.

Last year Greece announced some time in the spring that they would admit just about anyone. Then by the end of May or so, the EU decided as a bloc to only allow people from countries with low case rates, which led to them not including the US among those countries.

Greece and EU avoided a showdown because if Greece allowed anybody to enter and then they were able to go to any other EU country, it was going to be a thorny issue.

I think Croatia allowed just about anyone to enter as did possibly Iceland.


Now already these countries are saying they will admit people who can show vaccination documentation or negative recent tests. Maybe EU will make them toe the line again this year. Or maybe countries like Greece, which complied last year, isn't going to go along again.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 10:31 pm
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Oooh PZ is wide open ex-ORD in December. I'll be booking trip to London with some ffc. At worst I cancel and use it elsewhere or in the future.
​​Thanks!

Might be the first time I ever use PP on myself...
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Old Mar 22, 21, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by exp View Post
If say a month from now the EU announces that they will welcome Americans, one would think all these fares would shoot up, though the end of the year?
Scott Kirby certainly thinks so. I have my doubts, especially since, by P, you appear to be talking about business class. Yes, they may be able to sell the seats -- but at P fares, not J/D/C. Few people are paying J/D/C prices for leisure travel, and business travel seems unlikely to pick up immediately, beyond a small blip of bent-up demand.

Originally Posted by exp View Post
So what's the main downside, that either Americans are not admitted this year or that these flights are canceled and you end up with a lot of flight credits (or refunds if UA cancels or changes the schedule by more than 2 total hours for outbound/return?)?
The main downside is that UA routinely writes fares that allow them to keep the difference if you change flights and your new fare is lower. So, you may potentially end up overpaying by hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Originally Posted by exp View Post
So anyone thinking now about at least buying tickets, booking hotels for a TATL itinerary starting in July?
I have trips booked for both July and October, plus an award reservation for November. But:

(a) I found PZ space, so I was able to upgrade rather than paying for the P fare
(b) I paid for a refundable fare (with a $300 refund penalty, but it was worth it for me).
(c) I won't worry about visas, hotels, etc. until things become clearer.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 10:47 pm
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I've only been making award bookings at this point. I am thinking the UK might be first to open so have award seats to LHR in very late June. (If other countries I want to visit do not open up then, I will likely defer until later in the year). Just monitoring the situation as things get better here and in the UK. The Continent will be the challenge.

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Old Mar 22, 21, 11:39 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Scott Kirby certainly thinks so. I have my doubts, especially since, by P, you appear to be talking about business class. Yes, they may be able to sell the seats -- but at P fares, not J/D/C. Few people are paying J/D/C prices for leisure travel, and business travel seems unlikely to pick up immediately, beyond a small blip of bent-up demand.


The main downside is that UA routinely writes fares that allow them to keep the difference if you change flights and your new fare is lower. So, you may potentially end up overpaying by hundreds or thousands of dollars.


I have trips booked for both July and October, plus an award reservation for November. But:

(a) I found PZ space, so I was able to upgrade rather than paying for the P fare
(b) I paid for a refundable fare (with a $300 refund penalty, but it was worth it for me).
(c) I won't worry about visas, hotels, etc. until things become clearer.
What does that mean if you pay for a $2400 fare, but have to change it and the fare for the new dates is $2200, UA won't give you a credit for the $200 difference or the cash?

How much more was the refundable fare though over the nonrefundable?


Also the other question is, what would happen if the country bars Americans for tourism but UA or the *A carriers still operate the flight? Presumably they wouldn't give you a refund nor maybe flight credits either? They'd let you reschedule without a change fee for some period of time?

Last edited by exp; Mar 22, 21 at 11:54 pm
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Old Mar 23, 21, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by exp View Post
What does that mean if you pay for a $2400 fare, but have to change it and the fare for the new dates is $2200, UA won't give you a credit for the $200 difference or the cash?
That is precisely what it means.

Originally Posted by exp View Post
How much more was the refundable fare though over the nonrefundable?
In my case, about $150 RT.

Until / unless UA drops this ridiculous policy -- one their competition doesn't have, FWIW -- I highly recommend that everyone check the fare rules carefully. In this case, you're looking for the word 'residual,' which tells you what willl happen if the new fare is less expensive. 'ignored' is bad -- that means UA keeps it. 'refunded' or 'E.M.D. issued' or something similar is good -- it means that you'd be able to access the funds.

Also -- I doubt they're currently being offered, but for a while, LH group had some no-changes-allowed P fares (think of it as Basic Business). So, I always watched out for those also. I never saw them on the JV fares (i.e., USA to Europe), but I always checked just to be safe.

Originally Posted by exp View Post
Also the other question is, what would happen if the country bars Americans for tourism but UA or the *A carriers still operate the flight? Presumably they wouldn't give you a refund nor maybe flight credits either? They'd let you reschedule without a change fee for some period of time?
Correct -- for a non-refundable fare, all you could do is (a) hope for a schedule change and then (b) if no schedule change, cancel for Future Flight Credit, subject to the caveats above regarding residual value.
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Old Mar 23, 21, 12:05 am
  #12  
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Hmm, what was the difference between the FFC and it was called something like certificates? One had a longer expiration or something?

Schedule change over a certain amount of time entitles you to refund still?
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Old Mar 23, 21, 12:40 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The main downside is that UA routinely writes fares that allow them to keep the difference if you change flights and your new fare is lower. So, you may potentially end up overpaying by hundreds or thousands of dollars.
To me, this is by far the biggest downside to any speculative booking on UA.
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Old Mar 23, 21, 2:38 am
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Do not imagine that the high level of vaccines in the UK will mean there is any willingness to open the borders. As of Monday, English citizens are subject to a £5000 fine ( not a typo) if caught attempting leisure travel overseas. This rule is in place until the end of June. The borders are definitely closed
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Old Mar 23, 21, 3:03 am
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
My bet is Great Britain opens to U.S citizens before December. I've got AC tickets HNL-LHR from a cancellation last year. I'm not sure what the incentive there is to buy now, though - I doubt business travel will rebound as quickly as United's capacity will. The only annoying thing to me is the British Pound has been pounding the U.S. Dollar over the 12 months (funny how one doesn't notice exchange rates when one doesn't travel overseas for a while) - my hotel is going to be more expensive (but again, occupancy rates might factor in).
The UK never closed to US citizens. The only people it closed to were non-UK residents/citizens who have been in red list countries within the last 10 days. Due to the current lockdown, UKBF may question a US citizens reason for being in the UK (and they may question a UK citizen’s reason for having traveled) - something that didn’t happen much in the first lockdown, didn’t happen at all for the rest of the year (barring maybe in November), but picked up since January and will likely last until at least May 16. That said, there a million reasons (some straightforward, some embellished) that are acceptable and cases of people being sent back to the US are extremely rare from everything I know.

Originally Posted by imkevinmc View Post
Do not imagine that the high level of vaccines in the UK will mean there is any willingness to open the borders. As of Monday, English citizens are subject to a £5000 fine ( not a typo) if caught attempting leisure travel overseas. This rule is in place until the end of June. The borders are definitely closed
Inaccurate. The legislative framework is there as has always been the case (this is just a new set for the next period) - the legislative framework is set out for set periods and then changes are made within that period. Non-essential foreign travel is prohibited (With the new fine coming into place from March 29 as you say) until at least May 16. It may be later but that wouldn’t be known until April 12 when the task force will announce the roadmap forward. Despite what the tabloids would have you believe, the more likely outcome is a lifting of the non-essential travel ban and movement to a traffic light system where restrictions are based on risk (red - South Africa, Brazil, etc., amber - most of the world, green - maybe no where to start but maybe places like the US, Israel, Iceland, etc. will be on it from the get go).

But the borders are not closed. Thousands of people come in and out everyday. We had family come from the US in February to “help with child care” and their reason by UKBF was accepted with a smile. I just left and returned to the UK with absolutely no questioning of my reason for travel whatsoever by anyone’s.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 23, 21 at 8:59 am Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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