Seniors looking for a reality check

Old Dec 2, 2023, 6:42 pm
  #1  
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Seniors looking for a reality check

Hi all,

My wife and I ( late 60's) are looking to travel TATL for a cruise. We are experienced travelers, but haven't traveled to Europe in about ten years. The last couple of times we did travel to Europe, it was with mileage rewards with AA. We are looking at a multi-city fare from SAV-LIS and FCO-SAV in September 2024. We typically have flown AA or Delta for various reasons. When pricing itineraries for this flight, I found the best Business class prices on United. In fact, they were $1000's better than the competitors. So I did a 2 week fare save for 1 stop Polaris seat flights for about $5200/person.

My questions are, 1) Is this a reasonable fare? It just seems very expensive for 2 people wanting comfortable lie flat seats. 2) The flight seating chart is empty except for the seats I reserved. Should I expect the fares to go down? Since I did the fare save, these seats have increased by $800/seat. And 3) Is there a reason the competitors are charging $1000's more? Is this a bad product?

Thanks for any advice you can give us. I have 3 more days to book these.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 7:07 pm
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1) Probably. Unless it's in the winter, Europe is just really expensive in business class. I've rarely seen better on US carriers than $5,000 round trip in the summer/fall to mainland Europe. Especially considering you're flying out of a relatively small airport in Savannah and into very popular places like Lisbon and Rome.

2) I wouldn't expect it to go down, personally. But I am by no means an expert on pricing so will let others answer that too.

3) No, Polaris is a pretty good product. The food isn't great, the service is hit or miss, but the seat, in-flight entertainment, Polaris lounges, and bedding are all excellent.

Good luck! Others have more knowledge than me so I'm sure you'll get some great answers.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 7:09 pm
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Originally Posted by techsman
I found the best Business class prices on United. In fact, they were $1000's better than the competitors. So I did a 2 week fare save for 1 stop Polaris seat flights for about $5200/person.

My questions are, 1) Is this a reasonable fare? It just seems very expensive for 2 people wanting comfortable lie flat seats.
That United is the cheapest of their peers implies it's a competitive fare; airfare is up since pre-COVID in a lot of markets.

Originally Posted by techsman
2) The flight seating chart is empty except for the seats I reserved. Should I expect the fares to go down? Since I did the fare save, these seats have increased by $800/seat.
Seating charts on a specific flight have little to do with fares.

Looking 9 months out, you're likely not getting the lowest fares they will offer.

Originally Posted by techsman
And 3) Is there a reason the competitors are charging $1000's more? Is this a bad product?
Differing views of the market.

Can't say what the product is since you didn't share the flights.

Last edited by mduell; Dec 2, 2023 at 7:52 pm
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 7:42 pm
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Originally Posted by techsman
So I did a 2 week fare save for 1 stop Polaris seat flights for about $5200/person.
Don't know how far out you are, but I'd be surprised if you can't beat that fare at some point over the next several months. Would suggest you use google flights and check a couple times per week for a cheaper fare.

Note that pricing in/out of SAV may seriously limit your options. You might want to look in and out of nearby hubs (e.g., ATL, CLT, IAD).

As for product quality, UA has a decent seat but subpar food and service.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 8:21 pm
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Originally Posted by techsman
Thanks for any advice you can give us. I have 3 more days to book these.
If you are willing to connect more than once in each direction, try pricing the trip with Air Canada (which partners with UA for connecting flights within the U.S.)

Also, have you checked with the cruise line to see whether it offers special Business Class fares for cruise passengers?
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 8:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Don't know how far out you are, but I'd be surprised if you can't beat that fare at some point over the next several months. Would suggest you use google flights and check a couple times per week for a cheaper fare.

Note that pricing in/out of SAV may seriously limit your options. You might want to look in and out of nearby hubs (e.g., ATL, CLT, IAD).

As for product quality, UA has a decent seat but subpar food and service.
Agree with all of this.

OP, I would keep a close eye on it but wait pulling the trigger. September straddles between peak and off-peak seasons, so $5,200 is on the high side.

Keep in mind airlines do not usually tinker with pricing 9-12 months out, so generally only high fare buckets are made available. The thinking process is people needing tickets this far out have inflexible schedule, so there is no point discounting it, yet.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 8:54 pm
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United is no-risk for flights departing the U.S. assuming you'll be traveling United in the future. If the fare drops, you can always refare and get the difference back as Future Flight Credit (FFC).
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 9:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Don't know how far out you are, but I'd be surprised if you can't beat that fare at some point over the next several months. Would suggest you use google flights and check a couple times per week for a cheaper fare.

Note that pricing in/out of SAV may seriously limit your options. You might want to look in and out of nearby hubs (e.g., ATL, CLT, IAD).

As for product quality, UA has a decent seat but subpar food and service.
Later in the post it's mentioned the dates are in September 2024. I also agree that it's pretty much guaranteed the price will be lower than $5200 at some point between now and then.

FWIW, picking arbitrary dates in September on UA for SAV-LIS/FCO-SAV, there is a $4300 Z/P fare: https://www.google.com/travel/flight...9eWneNtwVzHaW6. Granted, that particular itinerary isn't very desirable (not terrible either), but it indicates there's a bit of room for a lower fare than OP has right now.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 10:34 pm
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Originally Posted by fumje
FWIW, picking arbitrary dates in September on UA for SAV-LIS/FCO-SAV, there is a $4300 Z/P fare: https://www.google.com/travel/flight...9eWneNtwVzHaW6.
Yeah I'd expect to be able to score a fare in that range at a minimum, and there's a decent chance a sub-$2500 fare pops up at some point (though not necessarily UA; could be SkyTeam or OneWorld).
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 1:21 am
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I'd wait as the fare is not likely to go up. Also look at other cities - e.g. OPO in Portugal and NAP in Italy. Trains are quick, easy, cheap and frequent.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 2:01 am
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$5200 seems crazy to me 9 months out, but airlines will do what they can and what market allows. You will likely be able to save off of that if you are flexible. September is generally a good time to go as leisure travel winds down but most routes are still operating.

Below are some ideas:
-Not sure if you have any AA miles but could be a good use (DL miles will likely be outrageous). It may even be worth it to open an AA or AS credit card (or both) for each of you and use the bonuses to pay for the flight. Looks like decent availability from SAV for 57.5K miles each way on BA business (+ crazy surcharges but still much better than $5K)
-Put fare alerts on google flights for the multi city and nearby cities and flexible dates (including larger cities like IAD, NYC, MIA, ATL). The expense of getting there may make it worthwhile. Also, youll almost definitely have schedule changes and you may be able to change origin/destination cities for free depending on the magnitude of the change (and the willingness of the agent)

my personal feeling is that you should be able to get a ticket for around $2500 RT but theres no guarantee on that and no idea when that will happen or what cities it would include.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 4:31 am
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I would keep looking. I bought a Nashville (not the center of the Universe) to Norway RT Polaris flight in March 2023 for Nov/Dec 2023 for $3400. It was 3 flights each way. Off season but I would guess you could find flights for less than $4200.

I am guessing there are no direct TransAtlantic flights out of Savannah?

As suggested, sign up for Google Flights Alerts and see what happens there. Google also tells you the best time to book. Youre doing a cruise? Did you see if changing the dates a little affects the fare? Flying to Lisbon on a Tuesday instead of a Thursday for instance.

I love the Polaris seats. Very comfy. The food? I bring my own sandwich and snacks. Maybe it will be better by then . . .
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 5:06 am
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Yeah there will likely be a fare sale at some point for around $2200-$2700 may not be UA though, but likely star partner. Make sure to give yourself a 24-28 hr arrival buffer before start of cruise.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 5:41 am
  #14  
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Does the UA flight connect in Newark? If so, make sure you have time for the Polaris lounge. This is arguably a good reason to choose UA over competitors. Few other lounges compare in quality. The food there will make your in-flight meal look like a school cafeteria lunch.

I agree with others that fares are likely to drop. I would wait and keep an eye on things.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 6:11 am
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Unless these are high demand dates, the fares are definitely not low. These days, Id say P-class should be closer to $3500 p.P. For such a trip. Sticking with UA, if the price drops, the OP can get a travel voucher for the difference - so there is that option.
UA has been pricing high recently - seen BCN/FCO I am looking at for $6k UA metal and LH/LX/AC on UA codeshare for $3500 - not sure why 10 months UA only opens down to D-class
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