How to find out if the price is right for this flight
April 20, 2015 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Is there a website which will give me an idea of how much a flight between A and B should cost at any given time? Ballpark is fine.

I'd like to visit New York in October (I live near SFO) and when I went online to check for tickets, I saw that it would be around $400 round-trip. Which seems not unreasonable to me, but I'm not familiar at all with US travel prices. Is there some kind of website where I can just plug in the destination and the date, and get a ballpark figure for what ticket prices ought to be? I plan on travelling quite a bit, so sites that aren't city-specific would be preferred.

posted by Tamanna to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This kind of thing varies so much based upon so many different factors (fuel costs, time of year, how far out you're buying the tickets, etc.) that I don't think it's really possible. I can tell you that I regularly book airfare from the East Coast (albeit a smaller airport than NYC) to SFO and $400 is on the low-end of what we generally pay.
posted by something something at 11:09 AM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

When you looked last time, was it on google?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 11:10 AM on April 20, 2015

I'm not any kind of super-flyer or frequent flyer points hacker or something like that, but I've flown that route a bunch (including twice so far this year), and $400 is a good priceā€”I'd say very good, even. One time it was $562, another $372.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2015

There are sites the purport to do this - Kayak, Bing Travel, etc. BUT, this problem is far from solved. See this article for some of the challenges surrounding this.

From my anecdotal experience, $400 round-trip isn't bad between SFO and NYC. By tweaking dates, I've been able to get prices below $350, but it's basically unheard of to find much below, say, $300 or $325. Around the Christmas holidays, when I have mostly been traveling on these routes, I would kill for a $400 round trip.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:15 AM on April 20, 2015

There's an iOS app that tries to do this called Hopper. You put in your cities and it tells you what the price ranges are like. For SFO-NYC, it says $350 is a good deal and $625 is expensive.
posted by smackfu at 11:33 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use Google Flights (linked above) to watch the price of flights I know I'm going to be taking down the road. When you save a flight, it creates a nice graph (starting from that day) that you can check obsessively if you're like me. This way, you get a good idea of what the lowest price and highest price kinda look like.
posted by kitcat at 11:53 AM on April 20, 2015

Rome2Rio does this, providing rough average travel costs, routes and methods between any two points.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use for this.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:07 PM on April 20, 2015

Second that is a great resource for this - they also have a webpage with reports.
posted by harujion at 6:31 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, ticket prices vary way too much for this stat to have much meaning, and airlines have computers dedicated to adjusting prices in almost real-time to squeeze the most $$$ out of every passenger.

I seem to remember Kayak have a "Escape Calc" where it will show you where in the world you can fly to and how much if you specify a home city, or I could be remembering the wrong service. :)
posted by kschang at 7:28 AM on April 22, 2015

I seem to remember Kayak have a "Escape Calc" where it will show you where in the world you can fly to and how much if you specify a home city, or I could be remembering the wrong service. :)

You're thinking of Kayak Explore. They kind of hide it away though. It's one of my favourite day-dreaming tools.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:52 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

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