Are Christmas prices likely to drop?

Old Apr 11, 21, 11:28 am
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Are Christmas prices likely to drop?

Hi all,

I'm planning a trip to NYC for the days just before Christmas (Dec 18-23). Considering the vaccine rollout and there being a light at the end of the tunnel, I get that this may be a popular time to travel, but UA's prices for those dates are REALLY high. I can fly out of either TPA or MCO. A few weeks ago they were $900+ per person. They dropped down to about $550 now but that's still a lot, especially considering Delta is only $370.

Can I expect prices to drop at all before my trip? Since it's a popular time I don't want to be forced into purchasing an expensive ticket if I wait. I heard UA is now giving future travel credit if you change flights and the price is lower, but I'd still rather not put out $1100 if prices might drop.

ETA: looking at seat maps it looks like essentially no one has booked these flights yet so I can't imagine the demand is there yet to warrant these prices...
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Old Apr 11, 21, 12:00 pm
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People booking this far out tend to be less elastic in their travel plans. I think there's a good chance they drop, especially if you have some flexibility on the exact dates of travel.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by TXJeepGuy View Post
People booking this far out tend to be less elastic in their travel plans. I think there's a good chance they drop, especially if you have some flexibility on the exact dates of travel.
I bet they drop. My experience is that anything over 60 days out is a crap shoot.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 12:14 pm
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Before the pandemic I had a pretty well established and extensive travel itinerary for Christmas time to visit various family. For at least the five years preceding last year, the best prices for booking my travel showed up in September and October. One year, prices got a little better in Novermber, although I had already booked. Right now is way too early.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 12:35 pm
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Where prices will be at the end of the year is going to be primarily dependent on how the pandemic is going (or not going) by then. I see no reason to book that far ahead at this point in time.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 12:38 pm
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Maybe.

The reason that lower fare buckets have not opened for holidays is that no carrier has a good handle on RM / IM due to the pandemic. Maybe all of the seats will be snapped up and all you will be left with is Y. On the other hand, maybe the seats will fill up, the fourth or fifth wave may hit, people will cancel and the flights you want will be empty and lower fare buckets will open.

There are all kinds of theories, but they are in the past. My view is that at $550, that is a mid-range fare. All about risk tolerance. If it drops to $300, you will kick yourself for not waiting, but be quite happy if it is at $1,100.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 1:28 pm
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Are you sure you want to visit NYC?

There is a reason I fly so much (out of NYC).
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Old Apr 11, 21, 4:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Maybe.

The reason that lower fare buckets have not opened for holidays is that no carrier has a good handle on RM / IM due to the pandemic. Maybe all of the seats will be snapped up and all you will be left with is Y. On the other hand, maybe the seats will fill up, the fourth or fifth wave may hit, people will cancel and the flights you want will be empty and lower fare buckets will open.

There are all kinds of theories, but they are in the past. My view is that at $550, that is a mid-range fare. All about risk tolerance. If it drops to $300, you will kick yourself for not waiting, but be quite happy if it is at $1,100.
correct me if Im wrong If the fair drops, cant we still replaced the lower fair and get a voucher for the difference?
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Old Apr 11, 21, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Maybe.

The reason that lower fare buckets have not opened for holidays is that no carrier has a good handle on RM / IM due to the pandemic. Maybe all of the seats will be snapped up and all you will be left with is Y. On the other hand, maybe the seats will fill up, the fourth or fifth wave may hit, people will cancel and the flights you want will be empty and lower fare buckets will open.

There are all kinds of theories, but they are in the past. My view is that at $550, that is a mid-range fare. All about risk tolerance. If it drops to $300, you will kick yourself for not waiting, but be quite happy if it is at $1,100.
Thanks so much for the informative reply, seems it is all speculation at this point. Just wanted to add that these are economy fares...that's why I was so shocked. Pre-Covid you could reliably get from Florida to NYC for under $200 pp. Don't usually travel around the holidays but I feel like $550 is still pretty high for economy from FL to the northeast.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by zrs70 View Post
correct me if I’m wrong… If the fair drops, can’t we still replaced the lower fair and get a voucher for the difference?
Until recently no but since the start of April, you can
Change Fees "Gone For Good"(WW ex-USA,non-BE), credit for lower fare!, BE waiver
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Old Apr 11, 21, 6:12 pm
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I think is too early for buy ticket with high price now.
i recommend follow this rate and buy with 2 o 3 months before of Christmas.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 8:36 pm
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Who the hell knows at this point? Right now, it's all a bit of a crapshoot. Just as there was no manual for the precipitous drop in travel at the start of the pandemic, the airlines are going to have to play the rest of this by ear. In any case, I'd say wait it out if you can. Start checking in mid-October or so.
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Old Apr 11, 21, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by andy_dangg View Post
Thanks so much for the informative reply, seems it is all speculation at this point. Just wanted to add that these are economy fares...that's why I was so shocked. Pre-Covid you could reliably get from Florida to NYC for under $200 pp. Don't usually travel around the holidays but I feel like $550 is still pretty high for economy from FL to the northeast.
For what reason that you are looking for domestic prices for more than 6 months out may I ask ? If you are looking for intl flight using miles I can understand, but cash price go up and down a lot til 3 months to departure, there are so much uncertainty with the pandemic, and you obviously are not looking to buy right now, so why not wait til like end of summer before you look at these prices again ?
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Old Apr 11, 21, 11:52 pm
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Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
For what reason that you are looking for domestic prices for more than 6 months out may I ask ? If you are looking for intl flight using miles I can understand, but cash price go up and down a lot til 3 months to departure, there are so much uncertainty with the pandemic, and you obviously are not looking to buy right now, so why not wait til like end of summer before you look at these prices again ?
The main reason is I have a really great Hilton rewards redemption booked for my dates. The booking is now 100,000 points more so I really want these dates. I mean I could always find another place to stay if need be but Id prefer to keep my dates. I also happen to enjoy planning travel a lot. I would just feel a bit more peace of mind knowing I have the dates secured. Sounds like waiting is the move though.
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Old Apr 12, 21, 6:11 am
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I'm seeing UA fares from $507 roundtrip now for 12/18 - 12/23 for EWR-TPA ($550 from MCO). So perhaps they have released inventory in lower fare buckets again since you last checked. Demand for Christmas travel begins to really pick up the Thursday or Friday before the week with Christmas in it (the 16th this year) and from that point on through New Years, fares tend to be pretty pricey.
Even though seats are mostly empty now, revenue management knows the historical demand patterns and do not set a fixed number of seats at particular price points as they want to get the highest fares possible. If you can find roundtrip tickets on a legacy for under $400 for these dates, I'd say you are probably doing pretty well. There are roundtrip fares available from around $200 in main cabin in early December. This is due to a lull in demand for travel after Thanksgiving and before demand for Christmas travel picks up in mid-December.

Last edited by xliioper; Apr 12, 21 at 9:45 am
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