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Does RCI have an option to book air through them?


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We have booked air through them, and prices were comparable to domestic airlines.  In fact, we could choose who we preferred, or we could ask for "lowest price".  Since we did that in 2015, RCI has started charging an airline booking fee.  I suggest verifying what they are doing now.  I believe it is called Air2Sea.  Others will no doubt chime in on their recent experiences.

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Air2Sea hasn't charged me a fee but maybe it's the airline I've used (Delta).

They aren't always cheaper but can be.  One a couple occasions I've received a better price through Air2Sea compared to Delta's website.

It doesn't hurt to check:

http://www.cruisingpower.com/choiceair/protected/home.do

All my usual perks for being a frequent flier with Delta still apply including free checked bags and upgrades.  

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One thing you need to consider is that often you're not buying the same ticket as you would be from the airline...may be the same flight, same route, but the T&Cs of the ticket can be very drastically different as often they are specially negotiated between the airline and cruise line to benefit them, not you. These can include things like excessively high change fees, no allowance for re-route (so for example you're scheduled to fly OKC to Miami via Dallas on AA...but suddenly the OKC to Dallas flight is cancelled, and while others may be re-routed via Chicago to make it to Miami, you won't be because your ticket says you MUST travel through Dallas), etc. These are real things, as ridiculous as they may sound.

Also, I've yet to see much savings on domestic US tickets by booking via the cruise line. One way, long haul is a different story. But domestically, you're often just putting a middle man between you and the airline in exchange for very little. Yes, they cruise line will TRY to get you to the cruise at the next stop if you miss it, but there's no guarantee or promise of it happening.

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As a general rule (certainly there are exceptions) Air2Sea is not going to save you money on domestic flights.  It often DOES save you money on international flights.

The one and only situation where I ever use A2S for domestic flights is when I am flying in on sail away day.  I have done this twice this year - first in Feb. for our B2B Anthem Star Class cruises and again this coming Friday for our B2B NAV cruises.  When you book with A2S there is a limited amount of assurance that you will get to your ship on time.  If the flight schedule - delays, etc., cause you to miss the ship, they will make sure you get there by alternate means.  I have never had to put this "insurance" to the test and I hope I never have to, but when I am flying on sail day, I suck it up and pay the additional cost of booking through A2S just for the peace of mind.  It is almost NEVER the cheapest option - especially if you fly First Class as we usually do.  Of course, we have travel insurance as well but I would rather have the cruise line/airline responsible for getting me to my cruise on time than to have to go through the pain and heartache (see Twangster's blog) of getting an insurance reimbursement.

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It is the same booking window as the airline has available.   As stated previously,  it tracks similar to what booking direct with the airline or Priceline etc.  The two times we booked with them we were not charged a fee by our travel agent who normally charges a booking fee for air travel.   Air2Sea does not book Southwest or airlines that only book directly.

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I wholeheartedly agree with using them for best pricing for international flights, especially open-jaw runs. Since I am a red-eye person, I even use them for domestic flights for embarkation day arrival. I don't mind the extra fee for the peace of mind. 

 

Might seem counterintuitive but one tip I like to pass along is to price 2 one way tickets in addition to the round trip feature. I have found a better price or flight arrangements on some occasions by doing it this way. 

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Thanks everyone. Although cruise isn't until next Oct just looking at some comparison rates roughly same time frame this year. I know the basic rule of thumb for international flights is to book 6mos in advance, I'm actually finding if I booked the same flights today, roughly 3 1/2 mos out, it's cheaper than if I had booked at the 6mos mark. Go figure.

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3 hours ago, FManke said:

Thanks everyone. Although cruise isn't until next Oct just looking at some comparison rates roughly same time frame this year. I know the basic rule of thumb for international flights is to book 6mos in advance, I'm actually finding if I booked the same flights today, roughly 3 1/2 mos out, it's cheaper than if I had booked at the 6mos mark. Go figure.

Just two things to consider:

1) Flight pricing and schedules can change drastically, even on the same date in two different years. Not saying don't do it, but don't necessarily expect it to be the same (or even close, possibly) a year from now.

2) I live out of a suitcase and an airplane seat. I fly 125,000 miles each year, mostly international, and book tickets for probably about 400,000 additional miles each year for colleagues. In the 12+ years I have been doing this, I have never seen trends that I can set my watch to. The cheapest ticket may be 330 days from departure, 250 days from departure, or 1 day from departure. Many people say 3 months, 6 months, etc. etc. I just have never personally seen any trends that I can seriously follow. The one thing I do know is to never assume booking further out is cheaper. It's like a cruise - there are plenty of times booking a cruise one or two weeks out is cheaper than a year out.

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9 hours ago, Zacharius said:

Just two things to consider:

1) Flight pricing and schedules can change drastically, even on the same date in two different years. Not saying don't do it, but don't necessarily expect it to be the same (or even close, possibly) a year from now.

2) I live out of a suitcase and an airplane seat. I fly 125,000 miles each year, mostly international, and book tickets for probably about 400,000 additional miles each year for colleagues. In the 12+ years I have been doing this, I have never seen trends that I can set my watch to. The cheapest ticket may be 330 days from departure, 250 days from departure, or 1 day from departure. Many people say 3 months, 6 months, etc. etc. I just have never personally seen any trends that I can seriously follow. The one thing I do know is to never assume booking further out is cheaper. It's like a cruise - there are plenty of times booking a cruise one or two weeks out is cheaper than a year out.

All good to know thanks. I guess I'll just decide to do it maybe 6mos out and then don't look back!

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21 hours ago, FManke said:

Thanks everyone. Although cruise isn't until next Oct just looking at some comparison rates roughly same time frame this year. I know the basic rule of thumb for international flights is to book 6mos in advance, I'm actually finding if I booked the same flights today, roughly 3 1/2 mos out, it's cheaper than if I had booked at the 6mos mark. Go figure.

I use Google flights to get an idea of what pricing could be..love the price graph feature.  But I find if you see a price you are willing to pay just book it and don't look back..it is wildly unpredictable.  I rarely see the legacy carriers drop prices a few weeks out, but the discount carriers do.  Since airfare is typically nonrefundable or has high change fees, unless I'm booking Southwest I won't book really far in advance..and since I book refundable cruises I won't drop the airfare until the 90-day final payment.

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Glancing off topic a bit here...we used A2S for our airline reservations today from DCA to Miami.  It seems that A2S did not put our AA frequent flyer info into our reservations 🤨 so when we got to the airport we were not tagged for TSA PreCheck. It was not a horrible situation as we have Clear so we went str8 to the head of the line but we still had to remove shoes which was a PITA and the line was S.L.O.W.  We had also lost our First Class seats together but that wasn’t A2S’s fault. The airline had a plane change and it f’ed up the seating chart.  We eventually got seats together dues the generosity of the young lady who originally was in the seat next to me. She took Dan’s seat and all was well.  We got the agent at the AA Admirals Club to add our FF info so hopefully the TSA PreCheck info will be evident for our return trip.

On a high note, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was on our flight. He offered to switch seats so that Dan and I could sit together but his seat location wasn’t helpful to our plight so we gratefully declined his offer.  We also spotted Senator Tom Cotton in the AA Admiral’s Club and when we got on board NAV one of the first people we ran into was Super Mario !  Quite a day for celebs.

So our experience with A2S today was a bit mixed but we made our flight, got to the ship on time and all is well.  Our departure has been delayed several minutes due to wind associated with thundershowers but we appear to be under way now so Coco Cay, here we come !

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On 6/28/2019 at 7:33 AM, AshleyDillo said:

I use Google flights to get an idea of what pricing could be..love the price graph feature.  But I find if you see a price you are willing to pay just book it and don't look back..it is wildly unpredictable.  I rarely see the legacy carriers drop prices a few weeks out, but the discount carriers do.  Since airfare is typically nonrefundable or has high change fees, unless I'm booking Southwest I won't book really far in advance..and since I book refundable cruises I won't drop the airfare until the 90-day final payment.

Checked this various sites this am, just for fun and found the best rates and options through Skyscanner.com. We don't fly a lot, so were not tied to one airline or another for points or anything. Seems like the flights in particular that might be a good options for us are on AA. Although through the shared ticketing arrangement, seats for this flight can also be booked as British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. Same plane, same flights, widely fluctuating prices though, with the cheapest prices not with AA.  Pays to shop around.

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2 hours ago, FManke said:

Checked this various sites this am, just for fun and found the best rates and options through Skyscanner.com. We don't fly a lot, so were not tied to one airline or another for points or anything. Seems like the flights in particular that might be a good options for us are on AA. Although through the shared ticketing arrangement, seats for this flight can also be booked as British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. Same plane, same flights, widely fluctuating prices though, with the cheapest prices not with AA.  Pays to shop around.

Make sure you understand the checked luggage fees for each.  For a family they can add up especially round trip.  

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