Ireland 2023 Airfare Tracking
Saturday, January 7, 2023 | Categories: Ireland Travel Planning; Ireland Airfare
We're ready to start planning our summer family vacation to Ireland and the first thing to do is start tracking airfare to try and find the best rates from Philadelphia to either Shannon, if available, or Dublin.
Since we have a 12-year-old daughter in school, we have to wait until school is out and we don't want to travel in the peak summer season due to pricing so we've settled on mid- to late-June before the summer crowds take over. We traveled this time in 2022 and it was quite empty, rates were good and we had a blast!
Even though I'm a travel agent, I can tell you that Ireland tourism has rebounded quite dramatically, causing a rise in prices trying to recover from the COVID pandemic. Flights still haven't returned from all prior gateways in the United States but for 2023 I do hear that more flights are returning to Shannon, which is a welcome announcement. With more flights, I hope to see the cost of airfare to Ireland decrease a bit but then rise again as the demand starts filling those seats. That means everyone should start looking NOW or you'll be late to the game and pay a premium for your flights to Ireland.
Start Your Google Flight Tracking
While we have access to systems that allow us to search multiple airlines and hotel systems, we do use some of the same tools to try and determine the best airfare and when to purchase our tickets. The most useful we find is Google Flights, allowing us to track airfare between two airports based on dates. We can set multiple alerts to narrow this search by airline (American is our hub), class of service (Premium Economy?), alliance (One World) as well as number of stops.
For this example, I'm going to use our April trip to Wales since I've been tracking prices for a few weeks: We will leave Philadelphia (PHL) on March 31, 2023 and fly to London (LHR), returning on April 8, 2023.
You will immediately see that Google Flights has alerted that changing our dates slightly (if we could), will result in more than $200 per person savings. That is, if you book today but at least you now have an idea of how low flights could cost.
Choose the Right Flight Tracking Criteria
Refining your search criteria starts to narrow your search and fine-tune the rates: We want One World Alliance (all American Airlines flights and their partners). We also selected one (1) connection just to see how much they are upcharging for a direct flight.
While the drop-down obscures the total flight time, the connecting flights would result in a minimum 11 hours and 48 minutes of travel vs about 7 hours with a direct flight. Everyone needs to make the decision for themself as to whether saving $250 per person is worth the additional 5 hour layover.
You can track specific flights or you can leave it open to any flight based on your dates, which is my recommendation. I've tracked specific flights and when the airline changes things, the flight is no longer available as well as the fares so you lose everything. Sometimes I'll track the dates and then set a separate alert for a specific flight, so I can compare that direct flight to the other airlines and connections but I do make sure the class of service is the same.
Also keep in mind that if you track one (1) person vs three (3), which is the total in our group, the rates can be different. This goes back to the term 'Class' when purchasing a ticket; you might see 'Q' or 'N' (examples only!) on your receipt which refers to the Economy Ticket but the ticket 'Q' fare; non-refundable, lowest rate, etc. If there is one 'Q' fare left at $500 and the next fare is $600, your flight search might be misleading. Having your alert set for one (1) person, will bring up the $500 fare class but when you try to book for 3 people, you're now seeing the $600 fare; you feel mislead. Setting your search for the total in your party will result in tracking the $600 fare right from the beginning.
Tracking Airfare to Find the Sweet Spot
Now that you have your searches set, sit back and see what is happening to fares over time. Starting your search as soon as possible gives you the best realiability to find the sweet spot and not pulling the trigger too soon.
The above chart shows that I have been tracking the Philadelphia to London flights for about 2 months, with rates starting at about $5343 from the first day for three (3) people, direct and in Premium Economy.
The rates dropped for $4807 within a few days but I still felt that the price was a bit more than I wanted to pay for 3 people on such a popular flight. I know there are many flights from Philadelphi to London AND I looked at some of those flights and the plane was empty - no one else has booked at these rates.
The rates dropped again to $4619 about 12 days later but I still thought they were high. Right before Christmas people feel warm-and-fuzzy and want to book a trip to surprise others and I tend to see rates climb before Christmas so my goal was to wait until after New Year before I really started to follow these flights in detail, checking the planes to see if they're filling up and if new flights are added to bring down the costs.
Rates have remained the same, albeit $200 higher in total, for the past 30-days which is what I anticipated.
When to Purchase Airfare
Now that I have seen the flights fall to as low as $4619 for the three of us, I might consider reserving those flights if it drops to that level again, especially if the flight looks like it is filling up.
If the flight doesn't look full but the rates are dropping, I might take my chances and wait a little bit more to see a sale and help spur ticket sales, ultimately resulting in fares going back up.