Q. I am traveling to China for the Olympics this summer, and I have been painfully watching the prices for airfare from the New York area to Beijing increase ever since the New Year. I probably should have booked early (like last fall) to save, but now the prices are over $1,700 when normal non-stop flights from NY - PEK are less than $1,200. Should I just buy it as soon as possible to stop the bleeding or wait until a 'miracle' sale a couple of weeks before my travel dates (8/1 - 8/23)? What are some general trends in the airlines in terms of fare reductions? In other words, do deals open up a few weeks beforehand?
A. We wouldn't bet on it. The airlines know that travel to Beijing this August will be in high demand, so expect to find seats priced accordingly. So, yes, last fall would have been a better time to buy, but fares are definitely lower now than they will be once summer rolls around, so grab 'em while the grabbin' is good. Just a word of warning: When shopping for Beijing fares on Orbitz, Cheaptickets, and those guys, we've noticed (and maybe you have too) some wacky too-good-to-be-true fares on Asiana. Try and book them and, in the final stages of booking, the price jumps by several hundreds of dollars.