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Flying to PAX

AltDeleteAltDelete Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in PAX Archive
In the interest of getting to Seattle by air in the cheapest, most comfortable, and least stressful manner, I'd like to have a thread where people can share their previous experience:
  • Where you're flying from
  • Which airline you flew with last year
  • When you booked your tickets
  • How much your tickets cost
  • Any horror stories (lost luggage, crashed somewhere in woodland Montana)

And what people are doing this year:
  • What booking sites you like to peruse
  • Any special bargains you care to share
  • Alternative transportation methods (Blackhawk Helicopter, Slightly Used Concorde, 1920sesque Aerogyro)


To start, I'll be flying out to PAX this year from sunny Phoenix, Arizona. Last year I flew with US Airways, arriving early Thursday and returning Monday night for a total of $289.99 (all taxes and fees included). Both ways nonstop. I bounced around a few different sites and ended up with Orbitz, and bought my tickets May 20th (about 100 days before the show).

All told the trip went smooth. Flights were on time and I was even able to get some 4' tall flowers on board from Pike Place on the way back (though I did need to drain all the liquid from the base at the checkpoint)

I just checked a few sites, and the best flight available now that followed last year's plan (Arrive early Thursday, leave late Monday, non stop) is currently going for $388 with US Air via Travelocity. There was a flight with a layover for $320 round trip, but layovers are notoriously finicky and I try to avoid them.


My fellow fliers! Let us share information and bask in the warm glow of combined knowledge.

AltDelete on
«13

Posts

  • Rogue_hunterRogue_hunter Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    For checking flights, I used this site. It trawls all of the major travel sites, as well as the airline sites.

    As for last year, I flew Virgin America out of LAX, and plan to do it again this year. Booked the flights near the end of June because they were having a sale, $213 for the whole trip, including taxes. Nonstop, about 2 hours 30 minutes each way.

    My plan is to go up Wednesday morning and return Monday afternoon. Right now it's looking like $259 on any airlines flying out of LAX, with taxes, though the prices wildly fluctuated last year (it got as high as $200 each way at one point on Virgin America).

    No bad stories from me, just stupid LAX security checkpoint checked my bag for explosives for 20 minutes. Though, it may have had to do with the fact that I had 7 bottles of "Mana" in my bag, though they were all in the 1 quart plastic bag. Still, everything in my bag got swabbed, including my laptop and external hard drive. I won't be lugging my laptop up this year, unless I get a netbook.

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  • WifflebatWifflebat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Flown out of Sacramento the last 3 years, typically about $250.00 every time. Contemplating either train or car this time around as a change of pace.

    Wifflebat on
  • shugaraeshugarae Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Also flying from Phoenix, AZ. Last year, flew Southwest from PHX to SEA for $259 round trip (after tax, title, license, etc). Arrived on Wednesday, left on Monday. Bought my tickets on June 10th according to my confirmation email. I remember looking at tickets again a couple weeks after that, and I would have saved about $40 :( Other than that, Southwest was good as always. I don't think I've ever had a bad experience with them.

    This year I plan on doing the same thing. With Southwest you can only book about 3 months in advance, so I won't have my tickets until June/July. I've seen fares at $99 one-way pretty reliably from them, so hopefully I'll be able to pounce on one of those! (last year was $119 one-way when I bought)

    shugarae on
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  • MrBartokomousMrBartokomous Registered User
    edited February 2009
    Last year I was using Kayak and Sidestep to price it out from YYZ-SEA for around 600 and change with connections in Vancouver or Chicago. In my building there's a Flight Centre and I asked them if they could do better and they knocked about $100 off the price by making me connect in LAX on the way there and in DEN on the way back. It wasn't the most direct route, but I lucked out and got a free first class upgrade on the YYZ-LAX leg.

    Looking to this year... round trips on Kayak are under $450... might have to book that soon.

    MrBartokomous on
  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence.Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    ASimPerson on
  • millislimmillislim Registered User
    edited February 2009
    My only warning to people from my experience last year was I thought i could save some cash staying in a cheaper hotel about 15-25 min away from the convention center and rent a car to drive all three days. BAD IDEA! in the long run paying for transportaion, parking and gas well made up for the cheap lodging. So I'm trying o stay in one of the places right next to the convention center however maps ive seen don't tell me much about whats near by...so anyone whose stayed near the con last year? it would be nice to have a list of the hotels so i can get my room and airfare asap while its cheap

    millislim on
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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited February 2009
    Hotels won't get cheap until they announce them on the PAX hotels page. Those hotels will also be the closest hotels to the convention center. They should announce the hotels with PAX discounts around the same time pre-registration goes up.

    Moe Fwacky on
  • X3R0 9X3R0 9 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I went through Obitz.com last year and got airfare from Charleston, SC to SEA for only $450 roundtrip. I had purchased my flight back in March, which I'll be doing the same this year. As far as how my flights went, not too bad besides rushing to get my connecting flight in ATL. Arrived at one side, and then had to run/tram it to the other side.

    X3R0 9 on
  • AltDeleteAltDelete Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    shugarae wrote: »
    Also flying from Phoenix, AZ. Last year, flew Southwest from PHX to SEA for $259 round trip (after tax, title, license, etc). Arrived on Wednesday, left on Monday. Bought my tickets on June 10th according to my confirmation email. I remember looking at tickets again a couple weeks after that, and I would have saved about $40 :( Other than that, Southwest was good as always. I don't think I've ever had a bad experience with them.

    This year I plan on doing the same thing. With Southwest you can only book about 3 months in advance, so I won't have my tickets until June/July. I've seen fares at $99 one-way pretty reliably from them, so hopefully I'll be able to pounce on one of those! (last year was $119 one-way when I bought)

    Good info, Shugarae! As a test, I went on southwest.com and did three searches: 1 month out from today (March), 3 months out (May), and 6 months out (August), each looking for a flight from Phoenix to Seattle arriving on a Wednesday and returning on a Monday. Both the one month and three month searches found nonstop flights each way for $97, and the 6 month search came closer to $150 each way.

    Including fees flying with Southwest and booking 1-3 months in advance comes to $217, about $70 cheaper then what I paid last year and a good $200 cheaper than what I can find online today.

    So assuming there isn't a great fluctuation in price in the coming months and there's no premium for flying on Labor Day, the best time for me to book this year would be mid to late June.

    Thanks again for the tip!

    AltDelete on
  • MaoChanMaoChan Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Last year 3 tickets from San Antonio, Texas round trip was $701 with Tax. Just check every search engine, Kayak, Priceline, Orbitz, ALL OF THEM!!

    Also a good tool to use is http://farecast.live.com/ as it tracks trends in ticket prices and will help try and predict when to buy. I am hoping for sub $200 with tax this year!

    MaoChan on
  • DeusTrinitasDeusTrinitas Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    What gets me is that (like with the Southwest example above) you can book a flight say...six months in advance and then get screwed because prices were cheaper 1 to 3 months in advance. You would think that the cheapest option would be the more in advance you made the reservation.

    DeusTrinitas on
  • MaoChanMaoChan Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I guess you could try out that Orbitz price thing where they supposedly send you the difference, but I really have my reservations about that.

    MaoChan on
  • redhaloredhalo Registered User
    edited February 2009
    I've usually found that price checking the airline sites directly pulls up cheaper prices than these combine search sites. Not sure how or why, but it does.

    redhalo on
  • sum10fishysum10fishy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I booked my ticket a few days ago. From Lynchburg, VA to Seattle, WA through Delta for $290.40 after tax.

    I am ready.

    sum10fishy on
  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Ok, this is not right... Flying out of Detroit Metro would cost me $387 round trip before taxes. Flying out of the little South Bend Airport (Which is a whole lot close to me) would only be $339.

    Qs23 on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited February 2009
    Good thing you're not flying.

    Moe Fwacky on
  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    Good thing you're not flying.

    Damnit Moe, we talked about this already. I need the cheapest option for PAX possible with my current fiscal state.

    Qs23 on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited February 2009
    Somehow I doubt $339 is going to be the cheaper option.

    Moe Fwacky on
  • sum10fishysum10fishy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Time is money.

    sum10fishy on
  • HaikufrenzyHaikufrenzy Registered User
    edited February 2009
    I'm flying out but it's going to be to Oregon, then with a hop onto the West Coast Train Trip from there.

    Long story...

    Haikufrenzy on
  • Labrack2401Labrack2401 Registered User
    edited February 2009
    This will be my first year flying to PAX, I used to live right in Seattle but then I moved out to Phoenix (yeah I don't know why either) lol. So I guess I will be along with these other folks coming out of the desert. I plan on booking a month or so before from Southwest flying out Thursday and returning Monday; and then Ill be staying with my best friend there. Anyone flying Southwest and leaving Thursday or returning Monday is more than welcome to fly with me, just message me and we'll stay in touch.

    I am so excited for PAX, my god it seems so far off.

    Labrack2401 on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited February 2009
    The next PAX is about as far off as the last PAX.

    Moe Fwacky on
  • AltDeleteAltDelete Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    The next PAX is about as far off as the last PAX.

    We're 165 days from the last PAX, and 203 days until the next PAX.

    "Low Tide" for PAX this year (The day that is the furthest away from any PAX) is March 3rd. It is the day where we are no longer getting farther away from the last PAX, but getting closer to the next PAX...

    AltDelete on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited February 2009
    The Winter Solstice of PAX?

    Moe Fwacky on
  • Labrack2401Labrack2401 Registered User
    edited February 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    The Winter Solstice of PAX?

    I like that, lets officialize it.

    Labrack2401 on
  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    The Winter Solstice of PAX?

    I like that, lets officialize it.

    it also works as the days leading up to PAX seem longer and longer.

    Qs23 on
  • Labrack2401Labrack2401 Registered User
    edited February 2009
    Qs23 wrote: »
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    The Winter Solstice of PAX?

    I like that, lets officialize it.

    it also works as the days leading up to PAX seem longer and longer.

    Thats so true. God help us all, how can we wait for so long?

    Labrack2401 on
  • AltDeleteAltDelete Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    God help us all, how can we wait for so long?

    Think of it this way: breaking up long waits into smaller bits makes the time go faster.

    For example, now there's only two weeks before the PAX Winter Solstice! So little time to get your greeting cards and holiday plans in order...

    AltDelete on
  • MeeOkMeeOk Registered User
    edited February 2009
    AltDelete wrote: »
    God help us all, how can we wait for so long?

    Think of it this way: breaking up long waits into smaller bits makes the time go faster.

    For example, now there's only two weeks before the PAX Winter Solstice! So little time to get your greeting cards and holiday plans in order...

    Damn, now I want to throw a PAX Winter Solstice party..

    MeeOk on
  • DorkaliciousDorkalicious Registered User
    edited February 2009
    Last Year:

    * Flew from BWI (Baltimore, MD) and had one layover in Milwaukee, WI.
    * Flew on Airtrain on their Aircraft Boeing 737-700
    * Book 2 tickets months in advance I believe May.
    * Total price for 2 tickets - $761.02 ($380.51 a piece)
    * No horror stories. We packed our things in carry-on luggage. When we landed in Seattle we took the bus downtown with no problems. And, when we need to get back to the airport for an early morning flight we took the bus back. We stayed in the hostel nearby -- The Green Tortoise.

    This Year:

    I've found a few flights from BWI to SEA on Airtrain for $210 and under! All direct flights so we'll be booking these tickets soon especially since we had a great experience flying with them previously. Sometimes I'll use Fatwallet for possible cashback. I haven't checked to see if this would apply to Priceline just yet.

    So, this year flying, bus (public transportation), and hostel again.. ..so that'll keep the total trip under $800.

    Dorkalicious on
  • trickycooljtrickycoolj Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I frequently fly for business between SEA and CA (usually Sacramento). You will actually get the best prices from airline websites so don't forget to check those. I also highly recommend Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air. They fly all over the western US and to some major destinations east of the Rockies (Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, NYC) albeit limited flights per day. Their non-stop prices are always competitive and Seattle is their major hub.

    trickycoolj on
  • CaptainTapoleCaptainTapole Awesome in the Possum - Yee-Haw! Northern CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I frequently fly for business between SEA and CA (usually Sacramento). You will actually get the best prices from airline websites so don't forget to check those. I also highly recommend Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air. They fly all over the western US and to some major destinations east of the Rockies (Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, NYC) albeit limited flights per day. Their non-stop prices are always competitive and Seattle is their major hub.

    I've been checking on Alaska/Horizon website and it's only about $1.00 cheaper than Virgin.

    Similar to Alaska/Horizon, Virgin has limited destinations and limited flights, but from all the folks who took it last year, Virgin was good.

    Sadly, due to tight budget, The Boyfriend and I will have to take flight both ways instead of train one-way, flying other-way.

    CaptainTapole on
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  • Rogue_hunterRogue_hunter Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I frequently fly for business between SEA and CA (usually Sacramento). You will actually get the best prices from airline websites so don't forget to check those. I also highly recommend Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air. They fly all over the western US and to some major destinations east of the Rockies (Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, NYC) albeit limited flights per day. Their non-stop prices are always competitive and Seattle is their major hub.

    I've been checking on Alaska/Horizon website and it's only about $1.00 cheaper than Virgin.

    Similar to Alaska/Horizon, Virgin has limited destinations and limited flights, but from all the folks who took it last year, Virgin was good.

    Sadly, due to tight budget, The Boyfriend and I will have to take flight both ways instead of train one-way, flying other-way.

    Virgin was awesome last year, but it was really crowded on the flight back home. And FYI, Seattle is a hub city for Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, and also deal with American Airlines.

    Rogue_hunter on
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  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Chantry of NightmaresRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    On my flight back from Seattle to South Florida, there was the question of a little hurricane wreaking havoc in the southeastern United States at the time. :| The turbulence was absolutely terrifying.

    cj iwakura on
  • RandomfoolRandomfool loofmodnar Rochester, NYRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Last year I came in on Alaskan Airlines from burbank. They were ok, not really anything special.

    Usually, I fly Southwest or United. Southwest is no frills but I have enough junk to entertain me. I'm a premier member of United which makes them pretty good since I get upgrades and what not. I don't know if either of them go to Seattle.

    I'll probably won't schedule my flight until August since I have no idea where I'll be flying in from yet.

    Randomfool on
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  • Rogue_hunterRogue_hunter Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Randomfool wrote: »
    Last year I came in on Alaskan Airlines from burbank. They were ok, not really anything special.

    Usually, I fly Southwest or United. Southwest is no frills but I have enough junk to entertain me. I'm a premier member of United which makes them pretty good since I get upgrades and what not. I don't know if either of them go to Seattle.

    I'll probably won't schedule my flight until August since I have no idea where I'll be flying in from yet.

    I was going to fly out of Burbank last year until I found that it would be anywhere between $10 and $50 cheaper flying out of LAX. Van Nuys Flyaway makes getting to LAX much easier.

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  • sidewalkkittiesidewalkkittie Registered User
    edited February 2009
    Last year I flew US Airways out of Providence RI. There are no direct flights to SEA so I had to deal with layovers each way. I got my tickets only about a month in advance and paid $649 I believe. On the way home, my first flight was delayed (they had to jumpstart the plane >.- ) and I missed my layover and had to take two more flights to get home. Subsequently lost my luggage, only to have it returned two days later to my parents house for no apparent reason. The thing I was most upset about losing was my swag XD Good thing I got it all back.

    sidewalkkittie on
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  • CaptainTapoleCaptainTapole Awesome in the Possum - Yee-Haw! Northern CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    On the way home, my first flight was delayed (they had to jump start the plane >.- ) and I missed my layover and had to take two more flights to get home. Subsequently lost my luggage, only to have it returned two days later to my parents house for no apparent reason. The thing I was most upset about losing was my swag XD Good thing I got it all back.

    The Boyfriend's luggage got to the airport before we did on our way back. We got to the airport SUPA early and went on the flight to SFO before our scheduled flight.

    CaptainTapole on
    The Girl Who Gave Everyone the Shortest Jenga Game Ever.
  • sidewalkkittiesidewalkkittie Registered User
    edited February 2009
    I guess mine got to Providence before I did, it made the connecting flight and I didn't haha

    But by the time I got to the airport, it was closing (yes, tiny airports do close) and my luggage was apparently locked up in some magical mystical lost and found area. So I filed a report with one of the remaining employees and crossed my fingers.

    sidewalkkittie on
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  • Pat McRotchPat McRotch Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I flew out of a small hub in Arkansas. It was cheap for a reason. We went from XNA (bentonville) to Atlanta to Seattle. The flight from Atlanta was nice and the plane was great! But the one from and to XNA suuuucked. Gonna go the extra mile and leave from Tulsa this year.

    Believe it or not, but Priceline got me the best price. Thank you, Bill Shatner.

    Pat McRotch on
This discussion has been closed.