I haven’t mentioned much of what I’m doing for my junior year of university; but considering that I am Steinhardt’s newest student blogger, I might as well announce that I will be studying abroad for the full academic year starting in September in an attempt to finish the bulk of courses necessary for my French major (my communication major, though, has yet to have most of its courses fulfilled). But before I can get to France, there has to be a lot of things sorted out and taken care of before I can pack my bag. One of which being booking that dastardly flight.
In between this year and last, prices for flights have magically risen two-fold. Well, that and the fact that I’m flying to and from France during peak times (i.e. August and December). Hunting for that affordable, yet not horribly serviced, flight is an art. You may be thinking, dear reader, that my best bet is to hop onto either Expedia or Travelocity, as advertised by television, but you are only half right.
I have to admit that there are sometimes good deals to be had on these broker websites, but be cautious because there are some just bizarre connections and layovers that just don’t justify the “bargain price.” Other websites can also have good deals (i.e. I flew home for $100 less than what I would have paid had I booked directly with Air Canada); however, there is sometimes that finely printed notice of there needing a fee to be paid for booking (as was the case for faregeek.com).
Anyway, I’ve been scouting prices to and from Paris for the past couple weeks now, and had yet to find a deal. Airfares are slowly but surely sliding, but not at a rate fast enough for me to be confident to keep on waiting. My top choices for affordable flights have been LOT Airlines (with stopover in Warsaw) and Alitalia (with stopover in Rome); Air France and Air Canada have been out of the question with both of which costing upwards of $1700 per round trip flight. With that said, one could probably see why I would like to have kept on waiting. British Airways, though, finally did lower their prices down to $1300, which is still a tad pricey for me, but it was worth considering.
So here I was, sitting at work, with no flight and a visa appointment in two weeks demanding that I have something to show them (the French Consulate insists on an itinerary, but then again, they can be fickle). My boss took up my quest for a flight and began some searching of her own. But even with her shopping savvy skills couldn’t find me a flight leaving August and returning December – although we did come close with me flying to London and then taking the EuroStar into Paris.
It took me a while before I was clever enough to consider booking my round trip from August up until May, and purchase a winter flight separately. Flights with all the airlines remained the same, so I was a bit dismayed. But there is a little bit of excitement that kindles within you when watching the Skyscanner search meter fill up, in which you hope that at the last minute a deal will strike up. And one did – Icelandair. It sounded a little too good to be true for $950 round trip, when other airlines were boasting fares of $1200+. A little “due diligence” reviewed that the gods were indeed in my favor and that Icelandair was pretty good, especially for its price. Of course, I have a small connection to make from Reykjavik to Paris, but that isn’t really a big deal compared to the 5 hour waiting times that other results were offering. Actually, I wouldn’t mind going to Reykjavik for a vacation; after all, I love cold weather!
Anyway, I’ll be leaving for Paris at the end of August, so I suppose there will be mostly backtracking what with apartment searching, and visa woes.