The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Monday, September 15, 2008

Winter airline seats & prices

I’ve mentioned continuing professional education in past posts. Many of these programs consist of a home study/class room phase followed by field study. These field study trips are designed to make the seller of travel more knowledgeable about a product or destination. One of the major benefits is that the travel seller can tell their customer that they’ve been there, done that. And I believe that as travel buyers you are looking for this 1st hand knowledge and reassurance.

Working on a couple of destination specialist programs myself I recently tried to arrange some flights to various Caribbean islands and Mexican beach destinations and discovered the impact of the reduced flight schedules to the warm weather places. The published fares were in the range that I expected to find but there were already a lot of zero seats available for the dates that I searched.

Airline published low price versus available price is a whole other story which I’ll cover in a future post. This area of price versus availability takes up one class period so it is worthy of a least a separate piece or two.

My advice to you snow birds that head to warm weather climes in the winter months is you had better start checking, reserving and paying for your air travel arrangements now! Most of the carriers work 330 days in the future for bookings and many key dates are gone, sold out. Do not wait like you have in past years, as reduced lift into popular places will drive up the price.

I have what I call a price threshold-a price range-that I’m willing to pay between my origin and destination. I believe that most of us have a similar philosophy concerning prices so when a trip drops into your range buy it.

Fare watcher tools on websites like or is what the Travel Professor uses to track prices. When alerted about a fare and ready to act I either contact my travel agent or book the space directly on the airline’s website. Yes I’m just using the mega on-line agencies.

Happy travels and check back later for more info on airline prices and finding those difficult discounted seats.