questionshow do you predict the week to week rise and fall…

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I use a Magic 8 Ball to predict the prices.

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I feel like my methods are about just as good. Bing travel keeps telling me to "wait, fares are steady or dropping" for almost a month. But, as I said..they've gone up $100 then down $100...

I'd hate to spend nearly $600 on a ticket only for it to be $450 next week. Did I mention the flights currently at $581 suuuuuuuck, like 2 lay overs in crappy cities + red eye kind of suck.

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The same way I predict which stocks are going up, and the winning lottery numbers.

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We just went through this for tickets to Denver. I wish I could tell you there was a magic formula but we just checked Expedia, Travelocity and Southwest Airlines (SW does not sell offer flights via the aggregator sites) every day. One of our requirements was a non-stop so we paid a little more to get the flight and the times we wanted but the prices went up and down daily, flights were added and deleted, etc. You can sign up to get alerts. I've heard 6 weeks prior to the departure date is ideal but that was not true in our particular search.

You might also see if it's cheaper to fly in/out of a different airport and pay for the car to get you where you're going.

Good luck!

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First, there is no direct flight (that I can see) from SEA to ALB. Best flight I see is SEA to ORD, and then ORD to ALB, for $562. You have chosen to travel on one of those holiday weeks. I used a leave time of Jul 1 and return or Jul 8 (which is probably not realistic, but I know that weekend flights tend to be slightly cheaper).

I spent many many years as a "road warrior" and know almost every trick there is. As long as you are choosing to fly around July 4, you are not going to see things much cheaper than the price you mentioned.

The airline I used for those prices (and via ORD) was United. You could try a site like Travelocity or Expedia and switch airlines in mid-journey, but the potential frustrations may have ramifications that you don't care for (such as having to pick up your luggage when switching, and then reentering the security area). Not personally a fan of Bing travel, but that's just me.

I usually check all the airlines first, and those prices are usually the best.

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Ok so I have been buying quite a bit of airline tickets lately because of holidays, Wedding travels, and family things and I have made spread sheets of how things go up and down.
First I will tell you about length of time. I was looking in October for flights in may and that was THE CHEAPEST the flights ever were and kept creeping up every month to follow. I can't say that 7 months out is the perfect number, but I was told by my wedding planner that October is the best time to buy flights for the following summer.

Here is what I really broke down and have been analyzing for a few years actually. The days you will want to fly ON are Tuesday's and Saturday's. The days you want to BOOK/BUY your tickets is typically WEDNESDAY. Now things can get tricky.
My spread sheets usually went like this:
WED: lowest
THURS: went up
FRI: came down a little. Sometimes the same as WED but different flight times will be on sale
SAT: goes up higher than THURS
SUN: up higher than SAT

TO BE CONTINUED...

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CONTINUED...
MON: up higher
TUES: the highest price
WED: the prices all restart and it is not always as cheap as the last WED

Here is the catch though. I have bought tickets on Tuesday and found them to be the lowest. Last week I was looking for DFW to RAP and was flying from a SUN to THURS and the cheapest prices were 323. I was like "ill keep waiting". I did... and it went up. and up. it averaged off at $335-340 for united and delta respectively. I tried to buy my tickets for $339 on a WED night and it was around midnight and as i attempted to buy them the price went up $100. I tried again and the price didnt go up but kept saying it did. So I gave up and was not going to pay $100 more. Friday rolls around the and the price was back down but it was different flight times. I didnt give in though.
I waited until this past TUES and the price fell to $281. I bought em then. WED the price went back up for the flights.
Its super hard to predict prices right now. But USUALLY buy on a WED.

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BTW... bidding on priceline is amazing for finding cheap tickets when it comes to buying a ticket that you don't care about what time you leave and arrive. I have seen winning tickets where people have saved up to 67% off cause they were flying in 3 days. They paid about the same price a guy 3 months ago paid for his ticket though.
Bidding is easy. Google tips and tricks for it.

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@shrdlu @zeke7 Thanks guys these are exactly the types of tips I was looking for. Unfortunately my schedule is pretty set so I don't think the priceline bidding will work for me.

I also agree that it is incredibly not worth it to switch airlines in the middle of a trip; I did it once and it was a nightmare of bumps and standbys. I think I will keep checking every day and if there are no changes I'll buy next Wednesday. If they go up $200 by then, guess I'll just have to eat it. Thanks!

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@zeke7: IF you don't care how many connections you have to make, layover time, etc.

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@meh3884: I agree traveling around a time when a lot of folks will be off frcom work - would be better not to. Also I understand why you cannot change that. Airfares do fluctuate almost by the hour and planning a trip far out is either good or bad depending upon what the fares are at any point in time (such as today versus waiting and hoping the price of fuel and demand will decrease). Just one more thing - have you considered, or would you mind driving from an alternate airport? For example, BDL (Hartford) is not a bad drive to Albany, especially because the airport is near the Mass Pike. Just a thought.

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@klozitshoper: I tried to work it out flying to BOS or BDL but the cost of the rental car wouldn't actually save me any money. I also am supposed to meet a family member in ALB so all around looks like I'm just gonna have to make it work. I don't think it will turn out too horrible. And yeah, flying at the holiday is just how it worked out this time, can't do much about it.

Some fares have actually dipped today and I see schedules have shifted significantly from yesterdays...looks like there are 2 new flights and 2 others have been deleted (or maybe fully booked, but seeing as fares dropped, I doubt that).

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@meh3884: SEA fares drive me nuts. I am always looking for good, inexpensive fares out there because I do go there fairly frequently. Problem is I am in Florida. Going to Seattle is always more expensive due to the Alaska cruises (at least I blame that because getting fares on the days the ships leave as well as come into port are more expensive by a few or a lot of dollars -just depends). However, the entire summer from Florida is wildly expensive. Coming to Florida, however, is fairly inexpensive in the summer. I drive myself nuts trying to put together one-ways, rt's, alt airports, etc. Since you, too, are interested in airfares on a regular basis. are you familiar with flytertalk.com? Lots to read there, lots of inside tips, etc., no actual fares except for people doing "mileage runs" or posting perhaps a fare error.

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So, flying into ALB, I would generally fly SouthWest. They have a hub here and bags are free. I'm seeing $493 including taxes and fees for the week of July 4th, roundtrip - one adult. Single layovers, decent flight times.

I tend to use SW, they have their fares posted well in advance and the tend to stick to them. With the taxes/fees rolled into the up front cost - and no bag fees, they tend to be cheaper overall.

Also, their crews tend to treat people less like cattle.

@meh3884: BTW - you'll be in my neck of the woods!

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Do a search on a site like Expedia for every day you would be willing to travel. That will give you the cheapest price at this time, and as others have already mentioned, mid-week or weekend travel is the least popular, and the cheapest price usually. Then run the flight days through Bing Travel (formerly Farecast) to see if prices are likely to rise or fall. If it's stable or going to rise, I buy then. If it's going to fall, I check it weekly or so.

I've used Bing Travel's flight price predictor for years, since it was Farecast, and it's never steered me wrong. The first time I used it, it told me to wait, and I ended up saving $40 two weeks later. Their predictive algorithm is really good. I think people are turned off since it became part of Bing.