Here are 5 tips on booking airfare that you probably never knew before.
Airfares Become Available 330 Days Before a Flight: Let's say you are planning to book a R/T flight from New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG) departing December 15, 2023 and returning December 31, 2023. You need to wait until February 4, 2023 because that is 330 days before December 31, 2023.
One-Way Fares to Europe are VERY Expensive: At least they are on legacy carriers like American Airlines, Delta, and AirFrance. For instance, a R/T coach flight between JFK and CDG departing on June 10 and returning June 20 is $1388. However, if a one-way ticket from JFK to CDG is booked, it will cost $1245. The exception is with "discount" airlines like Icelandair or Norse Atlantic. One way fares are exactly half the cost of R/T fares.
Airfares Can Be Fully Refundable: Even if a "non-refundable" ticket is purchased, it might be possible to get a refund. One such case is if your flight time is changed. Rules can be different for different airlines, but if an airline changes a flight time by 2 hours, it might be possible to get a refund for that ticket and possibly book at a lower price. Another way it is possible to get a refund is if a flight schedule is changed resulting in too short of a connection time between two flights, as long as both flights were booked together.
Avoid Booking with Miles if Connecting Through London Heathrow (LHR) or Just About Any UK Airport: When using miles to book a flight from North America to Europe, some carriers will do their best to discourage you from using your miles by doing everything they can to route you through LHR. When using miles, some airlines assess a "fuel surcharge" or taxes that are much higher than flying to any other city in Europe. For instance, on an American Airlines flight between JFK and LHR, the taxes and fees are $200. But if flying between JFK and CDG, those taxes and fees are only $91.
Fares are Better from "Competitive" Airports: For instance, American Airlines is the dominant carrier in Dallas (DFW) and Charlotte (CLT). However, there is more competition in New York's JFK or Boston (BOS) for instance. The traveler can almost always expect to find better fares from those "competitive" cities.