Bad idea to book airline tickets in advance

DomoDomo

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Booking airline tickets in advance can be a mistake
In August we booked 4 tickets on United from the USA to Argentina, leaving late March returning early April. No change fees, but we have one year to use the tickets. Starting to think this was a big mistake as I see COVID getting worse in France, England, etc. I can now see a scenario where we will not find it safe to travel by August of next year putting me out $5,900 dollars in tickets? Now I realize there was little upside to booking in advance especially for a family with limited flexibility working around travel baseball, basketball, etc. schedules.

I have since called United and regret buying the tickets even more. Unless United issues a schedule change that works in my favor, as it stands now, the clock started ticking in August on my tickets even though I can't book a similar ticket now for say Sept or Oct. And departing October 2020 the available flight takes 33 hours just to get there, never mind the return! I should have never booked in advance given the current COVID situation and the airline policies. Similarly I have Southwest tickets/credits that are about to expire (that were not extended) and even though I couldn't really use these for 5 months out of the previous 1 year, they will expire worthless. I think the bottom line is unless the price is out of this world fantastic or you think it might sell out, it may be a mistake to book in advance.
 

Alby

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Unfortunate.

I think most people have a tendency to be certain (i) things will normalize and (ii) that this will happen relatively quickly. Personally I have never taken either of those assumptions for granted. I too have grappled with the idea of getting in and booking a flight now while prices are lower than what they may be in the future, to at least be in the system, without even necessarily expecting the ticket to be honored on the original date booked. I decided against it. Fortunately I can sit things out here almost indefinitely. Due to the particular and almost unique set of travel/virus circumstances at home (Australia), I do not expect to be able to get there again for at least twelve months. If it opens up sooner, I will look at it. But until and if I know I can book a flight with reasonable security of not being messed around either by the airline, or my (so-called) government, I won't even attempt to book a flight.

Still, a year is a long time. There is a huge contradiction here in Buenos Aires at the moment. We have some of the highest new virus case loads in the world (and have had for what seems like weeks but is probably months), and the real numbers are probably much much higher. Yet the ICU occupancy appears to be down, and, as I look out my window at life on the street as I type these words, could be forgiven for thinking there is no longer a pandemic. You might find things will be fine by August next year, or earlier.

It seems to come down to age and attitude. There are other threads on this site where people seek advice about forthcoming planned trips to Argentina and around the world, as if nothing happened, or is happening, or will continue happen. I, personally, find that extraordinary. But there it is. It must be me.
 

Ceviche

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There are other threads on this site where people seek advice about forthcoming planned trips to Argentina and around the world, as if nothing happened, or is happening, or will continue happen. I, personally, find that extraordinary. But there it is. It must be me.
Indeed. Same here. Find it fascinating. But I believe thanks to internet, lot of people believe Argentina is very cheap at the moment thanks to the dollar power. And believe that can come and have a blast here- hitting the ground running. Its possible to have a blast here provided one already knows the city well from the past, has a solid inner circle and speaks advanced level Spanish.

Else, with the way things are going..its a recipe for disaster sort. of vacation or any kind of first time trip here in the virus/lockdown scenario. Just my two cents.
 

antipodean

Registered
Have to agree that it is a BAD idea to book a trip far in advance ANYWHERE in the world. And I am inside this industry and completely dependant on it, so have every reason to be “hopeful” that it will return soon. But this is a pandemic, it won’t be going anywhere overnight or even in a few months.

A pandemic simply doesn’t care about you (or me) and our vacation plans - internalize that fact for a moment. We are not in control.

The next years will feature a lot of uncertainty for travel until the world demonstrates that it is able to live with the virus or mitigate the risk in a proven, equal and manageable way all around the world. More uncertainty must also be expected with the economic fallout that could affect ones travel providers. There ARE and may continue to be windows of opportunity to travel, but until we see they can remain open for a long time (a year?) they must be considered to be just as likely to close again.
 

Mira Vos!

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Since people seem to be referencing my post- asking a general question and planning your entire trip RIGHT NOW are very different. OBVIOUSLY if BA was still not doing well nine months from now I wouldn’t go there, I’d go elsewhere. Until then I choose to live with my glass half full and without fear :)
 

EL_TIGRE_de_Tigre

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Since people seem to be referencing my post- asking a general question and planning your entire trip RIGHT NOW are very different. OBVIOUSLY if BA was still not doing well nine months from now I wouldn’t go there, I’d go elsewhere. Until then I choose to live with my glass half full and without fear :)
Mira,

Ceviche gave some great advice that I fully support. If a person knows the geography, (Which I do.) has a solid circle of friends, (which I do.) and can speak an advanced level of Spanish (I do according to others ... my opinion doesn't even count on this one!) then all systems are go. Absent those three criteria, it's a disaster in the making. A person or group of people are doomed.

Having said all that ... I still would stay home! And wait for clarity because things are a flipping mess right now. Argentina is famous for messes, but this time, it's a first class, INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH MESS!

I applaud your enthusiasm and desire, but if I were you I would dial my expectations back a tad. I would work hard, save money, educate myself with respect to strengthening my level of Spanish and learn about the culture remotely as well as bide my time and enjoy what is readily available to me, wherever I happen to be. You are young and have a ton of time in front of you. One missed year is nothing. You can get past that easily.
 

jblaze5779

Registered
Indeed. Same here. Find it fascinating. But I believe thanks to internet, lot of people believe Argentina is very cheap at the moment thanks to the dollar power. And believe that can come and have a blast here- hitting the ground running. Its possible to have a blast here provided one already knows the city well from the past, has a solid inner circle and speaks advanced level Spanish.

Else, with the way things are going..its a recipe for disaster sort. of vacation or any kind of first time trip here in the virus/lockdown scenario. Just my two cents.
That's because in most other parts of the world life is semi normalized. Only here are people still freaking out and not still not allowed to go outside or there are no flights. Argentina is a "special" case.
 

Mira Vos!

Registered
Mira,

Ceviche gave some great advice that I fully support. If a person knows the geography, (Which I do.) has a solid circle of friends, (which I do.) and can speak an advanced level of Spanish (I do according to others ... my opinion doesn't even count on this one!) then all systems are go. Absent those three criteria, it's a disaster in the making. A person or group of people are doomed.

Having said all that ... I still would stay home! And wait for clarity because things are a flipping mess right now. Argentina is famous for messes, but this time, it's a first class, INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH MESS!

I applaud your enthusiasm and desire, but if I were you I would dial my expectations back a tad. I would work hard, save money, educate myself with respect to strengthening my level of Spanish and learn about the culture remotely as well as bide my time and enjoy what is readily available to me, wherever I happen to be. You are young and have a ton of time in front of you. One missed year is nothing. You can get past that easily.
Tigre, appreciate the comment, I agree it makes a lot of sense to improve my Spanish/learn more about the culture right now. ¡Don’t worry, soy tranqui!

I’m already building my network in my industry, most of which are BsAS natives. Continuing to do that while learning more Rioplatense. I’m a huge lover of Futbol, dance, travel, and living with passion so I’ve really enjoyed learning more about Argentina. Obviously I’ve never been there but I’m also into geography so learning more about the neighborhoods. I’ll probably spend more time with pórtenos than expats.

If things aren’t looking good due to the virus then I’ll look elsewhere, likely SouthEast Asia. The plan is to travel to both areas in the next couple years, so if it starts in Asia instead of Argentina then that’s totally fine.
 

Mira Vos!

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That's because in most other parts of the world life is semi normalized. Only here are people still freaking out and not still not allowed to go outside or there are no flights. Argentina is a "special" case.
This is very true. In Florida kids are playing sports (certain restrictions but still playing) and starting today bars and restaurants are back at normal capacity. Bars are now open until the late hours of the night for the first time since it all started.
 

Alby

Registered
That's because in most other parts of the world life is semi normalized. Only here are people still freaking out and not still not allowed to go outside or there are no flights. Argentina is a "special" case.
Argentina may become a special case for other reasons: many predict in the near future an economic collapse and associated social unrest bigger than 2001. It's not just the virus that may make it unsafe for travel.
 
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