Cheaper Airfare – Splitting Up The Party

We are always looking to save money on airfare when visiting our favorite Disney vacation locations.  We’ve talked about using points to get free flights, especially through the use of sign up bonuses for credit cards.  We have also talked about making alternate flight arrangements, including flying into alternate airports.  During a recent search for flights for a trip next summer, we’ve discovered another tip! 

We always start our searches by looking to see if we can get a low cost ticket to our destination.  We feel that it is better to save our airline miles for more expensive tickets so that we get more than 1 cent per mile worth of value from the airline miles.  In order to get a good feel of the price point for the flights we want, we start our searches at one of our favorite websites, ITA Matrix.  For this particular trip, I started looking for one way tickets from Washington, D.C. to Orlando,  Jacksonville, or Tampa.  The cheapest flights seemed to be on American Airlines on Tuesdays for $64 each.  This was definitely a great find.  Once the day we wanted to fly was available to book, we headed to the American Airlines website to book the tickets.  We entered our travel information, selected four passengers and started the search.

Searching for four passengers
Searching for four passengers

Once we got the search results back, we were shocked to see that American Airlines was only showing us options at $94.  What happened to our $64 flights?  This was going to raise our cost a total of $120.

 

Prices for four passengers
Prices for four passengers

I decided to redo the search, but this time, only enter in two passengers to see if I could get different results.

Searching for two passengers
Searching for two passengers

Our $64 flights were back, but sadly, there were only three seats available at this price.  There was an earlier flight in the day, but it only had two seats available at $64. 

Results for two passengers
Results for two passengers

Armed with this knowledge, we decided to book two reservations.  One of the reservations would be for Nancy and the girls, all of which priced out at $64.  I then made a second reservation, on the same flight, at $94.  I was able to save $90 by making two separate bookings.  Since these flights are only one way flights, we obviously need to book the return trip.  I’m going to spend some time looking for free flights back, or if they are cheap enough, paying cash to come back.  The nice thing about making one way flights is that I can come back on whichever airline is the cheapest.  We could also fly back from or into a different airport if we need to in order to save money.

With the above flights, we could have gotten all the tickets for $64 but would have had to split our party up onto two different flights.  We discussed it, but decided against doing that so that we wouldn’t have to try to reconnect at the Orlando airport.  It would have involved hanging out for a long period of time or doubling back with whatever transportation method we were going to use.  $30 was a small increase in cost in order to travel as a group, in our opinion.

Let us know what some of your best money saving travel tips are in the comments!

 

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