Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cheap Flights

I've been trying to book my mom a plane ticket, as it looks like my aunt and uncle aren't going to be able to drive her home. She was threatening, I mean offering to stay until May 1st, but it turns out my sister has saved me, I mean needs her to babysit.
So I just went online to search for a cheap one way ticket from NYC to Boston. Ok, I'm only working with about 1 week of lead time, but here are my results so far:

Expedia:
Lowest fare is $147, but it's a 7 hour and 20 minute journey involving stops in Columbus and Chicago.

Travelocity:
Lowest fare is $182, a 6 hour and 11 minute journey, changing planes in Buffalo

Kayak:
More of the same. The lowest price for a non-stop flight was $314.

However, all of this was for an attempt to get a Wednesday afternoon flight. Kayak has the easiest interface for finding cheaper flights within a few days of your requested date, so I found that I could get a fare of $135 if she leaves on a Sunday, that is, a few days EARLIER!
Now that would have been what I call a bargain. However, I made one last attempt: the JetBlue website. And wouldn't you know, the cheapest flight, at $70 including taxes, was for Wednesday at 2pm, the exact time Mom orginally wanted me to shoot for. So she'll still be around almost a week longer, but now the ticket is booked, so at least the end is in sight! However, I won't count my chickens just yet: my mom is famous for always changing her flights and paying more in fees than she did for the original ticket!

15 comments:

The Travelin' Man said...

Two words....

Chinatown Bus! :-)

donna jean said...

oy, a week longer. I applaud your ability to host family, your mother no less, for such an extended period of time. My mother and I both agree that we've got a 3-day shelf life and that she either needs to keep her visits short or we plan on spending days away from each other while visiting (often hard to actually manage).

Anonymous said...

Hi!

Do you know Trabber? It is a new travel search engine really useful to find the best fares. Here is the address: www.trabber.com

Madame X said...

I think my mother would disinherit me if I put her on the Chinatown Bus! Not that she has any money to disinherit me of!

Charles said...

How about the train or Amtrack, though often it is not cheaper, but more scenic. Worth a check.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Greyhound, in an effort to compete with Fung Wah and the other Chinatown buses (which offers cheap rides but with some accident risk) has thirty dollar round-trip tickets if you purchase at least three days in advance. So your mother could take a clean, nice bus to Boston for a lot less money (depending on when exactly she's going).

T said...

I was going to ask why she had to fly also, but I guess you know best. Even a greyhound might be cheaper than the plane. Anyway, I'm glad you got it booked. The method is really neither here nor there.

Madame X said...

I know it seems a bit extravagant to fly... but she has a heavy suitcase and wants to be able to just take a cab to the airport and check it in. Also, when she gets to Boston, it's easier for someone to pick her up at the airport than at the train or bus station.

The Travelin' Man said...

I realize that it has been a long time since I have been to/through Boston (10 years or so), but the fact that Logan could be easier than ANYTHING is a shock to me.

Of course, my Chinatown bus suggestion came with my tongue planted firmly in cheek. On the other hand, the Logan comment is quite serious. ;-)

frugal zeitgeist said...

Ever try priceline? It came through for me twice during family emergencies. Got a direct flight leaving within 12 hours both times.

Escape Brooklyn said...

What's wrong with the Chinatown bus? I take it to Philly all the time and it's certainly efficient and cheap. (But I did hear a horror story about the Boston route once.)

mOOm said...

On Orbitz I found a direct flight with Delta for $70 right away. I always start with a search on Orbitz.

Boston Gal said...

The Chinatown bus (Fung Wah) between Boston and New York City is frequently on the news here in Boston. So frequently in fact that when a bus is say on fire, flipped over, broken down on the side of the Mass Turnpike, or stuck on a concrete barrier in a toll booth - and it is NOT the chinatown bus involved, the local news reporters have to preface the report with "This accident does not involve a chinatown bus".

In other words bus accidents and Fung Wah busline are now forever linked in the minds of Bostonians.

As for being easier to pick someone up at Logan rather than around South Station - I have to agree with Madame X on this one. The Ted Williams Tunnel makes getting in and out of Logan far easier than fighting downtown traffic. If you are coming from the Northshore Logan has always been easier than South Station.

Hope your Mom has a safe trip home!

Anonymous said...

Buying a round-trip ticket, and not using the 2nd leg of the trip, might be cheaper. Just make sure the "return" is at least a week away and on an off day (like Thursday). You can get really cheap direct flights on pretty short notice this way.

Shadox said...

In addition to the sites you mentioned, I recently found a site called Farecast.com - it's a great site that predicts for you if the price of a ticket is going to go up, down or stay flat in the coming days. I have a post about it in my blog.

Also, a few weeks ago I witnessed another great way to lower flight fares. Call the airline and negotiate the price. I saw it work and could not believe it. Once again, I have a post.