Flight advice from travel warriors

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by maflynn, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    I'm looking for those advice, and direction on my next vacation.

    My issue is that we've set our next vacation during my kids april vacation and in the Boston area, the cost to FLA is outrageous - anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 dollars round trip for a family of 4.

    So far I found that we could drive to NYC, and fly out of JFK. I could use my skymiles and pay for the trip to Orlando (4 tickets one way). The flight back will cost us $1,500. I'm guessing the long term parking may run us 200 dollars and I'm looking at a drive time of 4 hours, to a place I've not driven too, in probably 20 years (yes, I'm rather nervous about that).

    The other alternative is that we can fly from Boston to Tampa, using the skymiles for 2 people and cash for 2 people that will run us 850 dollars. We'd need to rent a car for the week, and that should run us 150 dollars. The flight home is the back breaker, so far I've only been able to find flights in the range of $1,400.

    Basically the total cost for Bos to Tampa is 2,400 vs. NYC which is $1,700. I'm not really excited to drive for 4 hours and that's been the big impediment. Especially after a long morning of getting to the airport from Disney, flying for a few hours and dealing with all that air flights entail.

    I think I'm crazy about contemplating spending 700 more dollars (or there abouts) for what seems on paper like a more streamline plan.

    Btw, I've been trying all the discount sites, expedia, hotwire, orbitz, etc, etc. They're all the same. The issue is Boston and the local communities all have school vacation at the same time, so all area airports (logan, Manchester Providence) jacked up the rates.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 14, 2016 ---
    I also wanted to add, I'm 92 days away, at this point of my research, it appears that I'm within the best window of time to save money, and as we now get closer to departure flight costs will actually increase. Again if anyone can refine that estimate and offer advice, i.e., wait until 70 days from vacation, or 80. That would be helpful.

    I feel like at this point, I should pull the trigger as I'm playing with fire, i.e., costs will increase
     
  2. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #2
    What is your primary gaol? Save money, or save time/stress? Answer that, and the answer will determine your course of action.

    Personally, I value my time, and, as I tend to have more than enough stress in my private/personal life as well as (stress of a more positive sort) in my professional life, I will also seek to avoid it, or circumvent it, while travelling.

    So, I will always spend money to save time and circumvent or reduce stress.

    However, other people will have different priorities.
     
  3. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #3
    What if you try a little further north to fly out of Newburgh? You can always take the train from Boston to JFK. That's a nice ride (I'll be doing it the opposite direction in July), and not cost prohibitive.
     
  4. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    #4
    Honestly I'd sell one of my laptops and eat rice with half the usual beans for three months to come up with that extra dough to fly Boston-Tampa, just to avoid driving from Boston to NYC any more. I'm not sure it's my age that makes me balk at the idea, either. It's just such a rude experience...
     
  5. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    A little of both, first, direct flights to/from Boston/Orlando as mentioned is outrageous. I cannot afford to spend 4,000 to 6,000 on flights. I need to bring the price down and I have two combinations that seem to work.

    Is there a train from Boston to JFK Airport? From my limited search, Amtrak dumps you out at Penn station and then I need to take a cab to JFK. I'm not sure if its worth that hassle of dealing with all of our luggage.

    I'm kind of like that myself.
    The JFK option is cheaper, and its direct (no connections.
    The TPA option is a little more straight forward, but its more expensive and trip home has connections. I'm not really saving any time, i.e., I'll get home about the same time as the JFK option with that 4 hour drive)
     
  6. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    #6
    Uuuuuuuuuubbbbber where are you when we need long haul limo service at competitive rates.
     
  7. Scepticalscribe, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #7
    Well, my equation on that is that - these days - I will always spend money to save time (and/or seek to reduce stress).

    As a student, obviously, money was scarce, my life was stress free, and time seemed something in endless supply. So, as a student, you tend to save money by spending time.

    Therefore: That airport light years away from the nearest city? Check. That train connection at an inconvenient time? Check. That mad bus ride to an airport early in the morning because you can't afford a cab, or breakfast? Check. Walking, with bags, to a bus stop that s miles away from where the train, or plane, dropped you? Check.

    These days, between age, remunerative employment, other (demanding) commitments, and a growing respect for my time, I will spend money to save myself hassle, and, whether that hassle takes the form of wasting time, or is an occasion of stress is immaterial.

    If time is not a major concern, then does the idea of hassle free travel - or reduced hassle - attract you as an option? Then, too, you pay more.

    Sometimes, there is a sweet spot, where costs (in both time and money, so that neither is stratospheric), and lack of stress/hassle can all intersect quite happily. That is where your future course of action may seem to lie.
     
  8. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Anthropocene
    #8
    You can take the subway to JFK. I would avoid driving through NYC if you can.
     
  9. Huntn, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #9
    I remember a time when the East Coast corridor was dirt cheap. @Scepticalscribe has a good point about time vs money. As someone who is retired from the airline industry, I remember someone complaining about flying to the West Coast for $400, from the Midwest, lol. However don't connect that comment with this thread as a criticism.

    $3000 for a round trip covering 1200-1500 miles (?) for 4 people is not bad- $325 for one person, one way, in 2.5 hrs. However, the last time we volunteered to bring family members to us, from about a thousand miles away and the price to fly was $3000 plus, we opted to have them drive and paid for their travel expenses, and let them drive with a rented van $700 for a 1week rental, 2 nights in a hotel, plus gas. :) My wife flew up (non-rev) and drove down with them. I realize time could be an obstacle, but gas is the cheapest it has been in decades and I assume you could all fit in your vehicle without a rental. Something to consider, but you are talking 2 long days+ on the road one way. We've done a lot of long distance driving and it's very doable.
     
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #10
    You can seriously rent a car for $150 a week? That's a steal!
     
  11. oneMadRssn Suspended

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #11
    Might be too late, but if you don't mind adding a hard-pull to your credit score, open up a rewards card with an airline. Usually the sign-up bonus they give you is good for a round-trip ticket for 1 or 2 people.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 14, 2016 ---
    A few other things:

    I know there are some United flights from Newark to Tampa, and there are usually relatively inexpensive flights from Boston to Newark (because no one wants to go to Newark).

    Have you tried the priceline name your own price tool? I've actually had some luck shaving off a good amount from priceline's listed prices this way. Research what priceline gives you with a normal search, then low-ball the name your own price tool. It's worth a shot.

    Some airlines don't show up on discount site searches. For example, have you looked at Southwest's website directly? I think Frontier also usually requires you to check their website directly.
     
  12. Ray Brady macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    #12
    Can you be more specific about what dates you wanted to travel? I've put in a few Boston to Tampa searches on Travelocity around Easter weekend, and I'm seeing United routes for a grand total of around $1100 for a family of four.

    Driving from Boston to JFK sounds like a nightmare to me. If you're certain you can't fly out of Boston, have you considered Albany? I believe Delta flies that route direct.
     
  13. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    04/15 -> 04/24

    The wife and I opted for JFK, the idea of being able to pay for the flight down to MCO on sky miles was too enticing. Plus the cost of flying back to JFK wasn't horrendously expensive. Here's an expedia screen grab. I excluded the first cheapest selection (spirit airlines at 524 because they charge you for everything and we have checked and carry on bags).

    So picking the cheapest ones turns out to be 2,500 which is basically what I was seeing.

    BOS to TPA Flights | Expedia.png
     
  14. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #14
    Not knowing your exact proximity to KBOS, have you looked at alternate airports to fly out of? Manchester? Providence? Portland?

    Without going completely into the NYC area, you have 3 (and possibly 4 if you include Bangor, though Bangor may be more expensive than the NYC area, and lack destination options) alternates for flying out that may be cheaper. You're going to pay the premium for getting to JFK/EWR/LGA, and it's too long to drive/ferry to LI to get out of Islip, and an even longer drive to get to PHL.

    But depending on the destination (Looks to be Florida), try heading out of BDF or MHT and see what options you have.

    BL.
     
  15. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #15
    It looks like the Albany to MCO is about 4,000 dollars round trip
    ALB to TPA is in the 2,800 range, but I need to add in the fee for checked bags.

    I don't see that being a feasible option but thanks
    --- Post Merged, Jan 14, 2016 ---
    I looked at those as well, thanks :(

    The issue with the smaller airports is the fact that they usually have connections and or use partnered airlines which seems to keep the cost high and/or limited flights.
     
  16. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #16
    Southwest has nonstops to TPA from BOS, MHT, PVD, and BDL. The only one that has a connecting flight is out of PWM. Those may work for you.

    BL.
     
  17. Beerstalker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    #17
    I would just drive. Rent a car if you don't have one that is reliable enough, or you don't want to put that many miles on your own. I find that if you are taking more than 2 people it makes more sense to just drive.
     
  18. kupkakez macrumors 68000

    kupkakez

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    #18
    I second this. When I lived in northeast Ohio and would go to Orlando, Florida it was about an 18 hour straight through drive. Yeah it's a long drive but it's much much cheaper than flying at those prices.

    $3000-$7000 on flights from the east coast to Florida just seems wild. I'd rather tack on a couple extra vacation days, save the money and drive it.

    Edited to add: last year my SO and I drove from Austin, TX to northeast Ohio during Christmas break. We didn't rent a car but drove my SUV and I think we maybe spent $300 on gas at the most round trip and that's a 24 hour drive each way. It was much cheaper than I thought it was going to be.
     
  19. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #19
    My suggestion as well. Other option would be a cab or an Uber.
     
  20. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #20

    Albany has some Southwest flights that are direct to TPA, the "Wanna get away" price is as low as $122 per person each way plus no baggage fees for 2 bags each ticket. MCO is a little more expensive but there are also non-stops from Albany on Southwest.

    Security in Albany is also probably going to be a breeze compared to the others. Long-term parking may also save you some money, I parked in the outside lot adjacent to the terminal (walking distance, no shuttle) for $93 for 10 days.
     
  21. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #21
    My parents lived in Albany for 30 years. My brother and his family were in Orlando for several of those years, and the folks regularly took Southwest from Albany to Orlando to visit. (And I would drive the 7 hours to join them.)
     
  22. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #22
    I used google flights and found way better deals without going to NYC. Did I get all the info correct? Spirit shows as the best deal, and they do charge for bags, but so does everyone else. I fly them now and again and have had good experiences for he most part.
    image.png image.png
     
  23. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #23
    Me too. I don't like long road trips and generally fly anything longer than 6 or so hours, but jesus that's a lot of money for the flights, you could fly to Europe for that kind of money. I think I'd just drive it, if you can share the driving with your SO, you should be able to do it in a day.

    Even if you take into account the wear and tear on the car, gas, and an overnight stop in a hotel if you don't want to cram it into a day, you're still coming out ahead, plus you don't have to rent a car.
     
  24. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #24
    I hate spirit, I've heard nothing bad things about them.

    I looked at the Albany option and I really like that. Its a much shorter drive and I can see that airport being less crazy then JFK. For me, its a straight shot up the Mass Pike to NY, where as the NYC trip involves much more driving.

    I was able to book a jetblue trip from Albany direct to MCO, for about the same price as Southwest. The difference is that I had to use my skymiles for two tickets. It was probably an inefficient use of the skymiles (I bought 4 tickets jfk->mco) but in the end, I'm spending about 700 dollars more on the Albany flight then the JFK but I'm saving a lot of time and hassle.
     
  25. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #25
    @maflynn I expect Albany absolutely will be less crazy than any of the NYC-area facilities. I'm local to that airport, the news just reported that the airport served 1.2 million passengers all of last year. The few times I flew out of there last year (one Delta, two SouthWest, all early morning flights), there was ZERO wait at the hold-short line before my flight was cleared to depart, not sure the plane even had to stop.

    I totally forgot about JetBlue, they're new for the airport.
     

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