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Entries during 2008-02

Extra Baggage Fees vs. Shipping Costs

Q. I read today that US Air is charging a $25 fee for the second bag if it's under 50 lbs. How much will I pay if the second bag is over 50 lbs, and would I be better off shipping that bag by UPS ground to my hotel on an upcoming trip?

A. Let's see. A 72lb bag shipped via UPS ground from Atlanta to Los Angeles takes about 4 days and will cost you $77. Checking that same bag as your second piece of luggage with US Airways will cost $125. Have a third bag over 50lbs? That's another $150. Over 71lbs? $200.

So, shipping those extra bags will save you a little cash, not to mention hard work. Who wants to schlep around a bunch of heavy bags anyway?

When to Shop for Summer Sales?

Q. I'm hoping to find a good deal on a flight in early July. When can I expect to see sales posted for summer travel?

A. There's no guaranteed way of predicting when the airlines will start trying to reduce their inventory. It's supply and demand. We're just starting to see June dates come up in our most recent searches.  I suggest you continue to check regularly.

Flexible Search Sites

Q. I am surprised that nowhere on the site do you mention ITA software's QPX for fare searching. It seems to be the only site where you can check fares for a whole month at a time to find out which dates are cheapest - all the others make you plug in dates first. However, it does require you to give your proposed length of trip. Since I am retired and can travel at any time, I would love to find a site that would show me the cheapest airfare AND the dates when it was available, without making me specify how long I want to stay. Any ideas?

A. Actually, Cheaptickets and Orbitz both run on ITA, so you can search both domestic and US to International fares there a month at a time. It's really the same thing, except that you can't actually book travel on ITA.

Hotwire also now allows 30 day searches, and also mixes in their special lower fares where you don't know what airline you'll be flying until you book.

Also, Travelocity lets you search the lowest possible fare 330 days in advance for domestic flights only as does

You might also want to check out our article on flexible searches.

Open Skies: this thing on?

Q. With the coming deregulation of trans Atlantic air space, can we expect a drop in fare to/from Europe this spring? I'm looking to travel mid April to Germany & hoping spring fares are coming soon or that deregulation will ease things a bit. What do you think?

A. Yes I think we'll definitely see some deals. We've already found LA to London on Air France for $800 RT including taxes for July travel, and that's a new open skies route. Stay tuned to AFWD for more finds like that one.

ATTN the Other Guys: Take a tip from Southwest

Q. Due to illness, I recently had to cancel a trip I'd booked on Southwest and was surprised when I was issued a credit for the value of my ticket to use on a future flight. Is this common? Do any other airlines do this?!

A. Sadly, the answer is no. Southwest is the only airline that allows passengers to "rebank" the cost of your canceled ticket (yes, even if you bought one of their discounted Ding! Fares) and put it towards your next trip. And they don't charge a penalty fee to do so.

First Presidential Flight

Q. Who was the president to fly in a plane and to where?

A. That would be F.D.R., who flew aboard a Boeing 314 to Casablanca, Morocco in 1943. However, Teddy Roosevelt did fly way back in October of 1910, though he was no longer president at the time.

Booking more than one seat with fares listed on our site

Q: Hi there, I'm a frequent user of airfarewatchdog, and was delighted to find that you had links to a relatively inexpensive flight to D.C. However, when I clicked through to Travelocity to purchase the ticket, I could only buy 1 (needed 2). If I tried to order 2, the price went up. I called Travelocity and the guy said he guessed the flights were full and I was looking at the last seat. Frustrated, I called Delta and was able to get 2 tickets on what the agent said was a nearly empty flight. Could you talk with Travelocity and ask why a purchaser can't purchase more than one ticket? (I can see that they don't want people buying up the farm, but 2 tix? C'mon!) Thanks, Alisan

A: You can buy more than one seat on Travelocity, but not if you go through our "deep" links directly, which are set for one seat. We provide these links to show you a calendar of when fares are most likely available, which saves frustration (we hope).

To get two seats, find the dates you want at the fare you want, make a note of them, and then click on the home tab in the upper left corner of the Travelocity page and then you will be able to choose any number of adults, minors, and seniors you need. This same procedure applies to Orbitz and other sites.

More to Come!

Q. Have you ever thought about doing first and business class the same way you do economy? Iberia has tons of round-trip fares right now from Dallas/Ft Worth to all over Europe for under $3000, which is such a deal from here.

A. Yes we have thought of that indeed, and we'll also be expanding to intra-Europe and intra-Asia flights too. But first up, stay tuned for our launch of city to city route fare alerts very soon!

International Flexible Search

Q. Do you or any of your readers have any experience with My interest in them was the ability to search large date ranges (i.e. - months) for the cheapest fares for a trip that I am planning to Italy and Spain.

A. Why, yes, we do know of, and while our experience with them is pretty minimal, we have noticed that they do have some really great fares, as well as flexible date search. If you do use them, please let us know what you think. You can also search for international fares using flexible dates by visiting Travelocity's Singapore-based affiliate, Prices listed on this site are in US dollars, but we don't advise you to book on the site (for one thing, their booking fees are extraordinarily high compared to Travelocity's). Once you find the dates you want, simply go back to Travelocity US and use a specific date search to book. Uniquely, Zuji also does flexible searches for business and first class fares.

Extended Stay & Pay

Q. Any suggestions on how to transfer money to Italy for a long term stay? I am not able to open a bank account because i will not be a resident. I'm afraid that the atm conversion fees will be too high and really add up after a 3 month stay. 

A. ATM conversions aren't as expensive as you may think. Many banks don't charge anything for foreign ATM withdrawals. Just shop around and find a bank in your area that charges the minimal fee, if anything at all, for currency conversion. Also keep in mind that credit unions sometimes have better deals.

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