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#964975 by jonathanb
30 May 2022, 19:16
Hi Everyone,

We have travelled to central Florida 3 times a year as we have a second home there, mix of PE and UC but mainly UC for the past 15 years.

3 years ago I could tell you that at around 330 days before J class tickets in UC would go onsale and 2 days later some D's would come on and maybe some Z's.

I'm an organised kind of person who likes things sorted, I also don't have huge flexibility on dates so like to get it sorted.

At the moment I can't book for April next year as I'm seeing only J class tickets on the dates I want (£6800 return pp), on some dates PE is half full or nearly full but UC is empty. Does anyone have a feel for when lower class UC tickets are being released?

Jonathan
#964976 by mitchja
30 May 2022, 19:51
I'm finding the same for flights over the New Year period to FLL. Some of the flight prices are insane!!

I've been looking for weeks now and it's much more difficult this year as I'm normally fully booked by now. For me, it doesn't help now that DL have massively reduced flights as well making connecting flights more difficult to get as well.

My guess is it's down to reductions in overall capacity so VS are capacity controlling their fares i.e. they are not releasing all the fares at the same time now. The number of Z fares (VS's lowest Upper Class fare) does seem reduced now.

Fares are up and down on a daily basis as well. I think it's going to take several months yet before things start to stabilise again unfortunately.

All I suggest you do is keep checking. I'm checking on a daily basis now!
#964980 by Waddo56
31 May 2022, 13:54
We have been watching for a month now for flights to visit our daughter in Las Vegas March 2023.
I have watched the UC price for the three of us start at £6900 then to £7200 and today: £7612 then click on the return leg now £8278 "one seat taken in upperclass" or PE £4700

I cannot take the gamble to wait on prices coming down so yesterday booked with BA for March 2023, Business class for the 3 of us £6800. I would say the cost to pick a seat with BA is unacceptable, our son is disabled so seat reservation was free. Thought it was the old business class on the 777 but it is a refitted 777 outbound and return A350, first time ever flying BA in 24 years of traveling Virgin Atlantic!
#964984 by CommanderB
31 May 2022, 15:42
mitchja wrote:I
Fares are up and down on a daily basis as well. I think it's going to take several months yet before things start to stabilise again unfortunately.


I strongly agree with this.

A couple of further points:

  • The turmoil in the oil markets isn't helping stability because fuel is such a large variable cost to the airlines. Even with their hedging strategies, this will remain a problem for a while and that results in them building lots of additional margin into fares to account for future circumstances.
  • There's a reason they load full flex fares, expensive fares first.... people like you have no flexibility and some people will push the button and buy them. It's unfortunate, but it's business.

Unless you are willing to risk waiting it out, there isn't much that can be done really. It's a horrible situation to be in. I've been there before and it sucks ;-(
#964987 by jonathanb
31 May 2022, 19:52
Thanks everyone, yes it's pushing me to look at different options as well.

Last UC flight in Feb the crew were good but the seat felt cramped and some of the food was pretty dreadful, maybe just time to try something else. I have already booked Aer Lingus in October as the price was much better. In a recent thread on the Dibb a few people said that if the price was the same they would choose Aer Lingus business over VS UC, no idea as I've not done it before.

Whilst I get the business angle and they want to hold out for the very best price usually at this point a bunch of people would have booked these cabins and at the moment no one has on these dates. So they must be having some sort of impact on their cash flow in terms of getting cash in later.

I'm certainly not expecting it to be cheap but £35k for 5 seats in UC just seems crazy. With a 1.5 hour stop in EWR I could do United business class for £12k and still land in MCO at 4:30.

Jonathan
#964988 by Kraken
31 May 2022, 21:45
jonathanb wrote:I'm certainly not expecting it to be cheap but £35k for 5 seats in UC just seems crazy. With a 1.5 hour stop in EWR I could do United business class for £12k and still land in MCO at 4:30.


Just to state the obvious, but unless all 5 of your travelling party have Global Entry, a 1.5 hr stop in EWR - or indeed any connecting US airport - will be cutting it wafer-thin to say the least.

Unless you are going via Dublin where there is Pre-Clearance, you will have to be re-screened by the TSA at your connecting US airport. I would be very surprised if United would even allow you to book such a tight connection as the risk of you not making the connection must be very high.
#964994 by Miyamoto Musashi
02 Jun 2022, 20:32
CommanderB wrote:
mitchja wrote:I
Fares are up and down on a daily basis as well. I think it's going to take several months yet before things start to stabilise again unfortunately.


I strongly agree with this.

A couple of further points:

  • The turmoil in the oil markets isn't helping stability because fuel is such a large variable cost to the airlines. Even with their hedging strategies, this will remain a problem for a while and that results in them building lots of additional margin into fares to account for future circumstances.
  • There's a reason they load full flex fares, expensive fares first.... people like you have no flexibility and some people will push the button and buy them. It's unfortunate, but it's business.

Unless you are willing to risk waiting it out, there isn't much that can be done really. It's a horrible situation to be in. I've been there before and it sucks ;-(


I'm sorry to say Virgin (and perhaps BA) are kind of unique when it comes to the latest pricing insanity.
I've been tracking the JFK-LHR-TLV route for a long while and also comparing the direct EWR-TLV from United. Ever since the skys opened Virgin doubled and trippled their prices on the route. So much so, that Virgin was double in UC for the same dates as opposed to United - which is direct and has just as good of a hard product as Virgin.
I was able to nab 2 United Polaris tickes for about $2500 (RT). The equivalent Virgin tickets for the same period abour $5000. Previously - Virgin priced the same route at about $2,700.
That's a shame and hopefully the folks in Virgin pricing department wake up before everyone skips to other airlines.
#964995 by Linyilee2
03 Jun 2022, 09:49
I was able to nab 2 United Polaris tickes for about $2500 (RT). The equivalent Virgin tickets for the same period abour $5000. Previously - Virgin priced the same route at about $2,700.
That's a shame and hopefully the folks in Virgin pricing department wake up before everyone skips to other airlines.



I think VS are doing a pretty good job in filling their cabins right now so I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one.
#965000 by tontybear
03 Jun 2022, 20:59
Waddo56 wrote: Thought it was the old business class on the 777 but it is a refitted 777 outbound and return A350, first time ever flying BA in 24 years of traveling Virgin Atlantic!


Don't rely on those plane types remaining the same between now and next March.
#965059 by OCdreamin
13 Jun 2022, 14:32
Media reports suggest demand is high, people wanting to travel are willing to pay, and there is little sign of prices collapsing.

On our last trip to California, we scored a good deal with VS, MAN to LAX, originally booked Nov '20 for travel in July '21, but due to the restrictions finally taken in Dec.; two seats in UC for £4,234 total.

For our upcoming trip, the cheapest J fares were more than £4,700 each, or even higher (VS & BA). We've opted for BA this time. Of course this is only one example on a popular route, but checking today for the same dates, departing in 2 weeks, the fare has not changed from when we booked in April!

This supports the narrative that right now airlines can fill seats, including premium cabins, without discounting, and that holding out for late reductions may not bring any advantage. In fact BA flies 3 times daily LHR to LAX with 777s in premium-heavy config. including 76J seats.
#965060 by flyingfox
13 Jun 2022, 16:22
Personally I’am not ready to pull the trigger on booking at the current fare price levels, going to leave it until the summer booking window narrows for travel sometime in late November and again February going to west coast US. There are some good J fares ex MAD flying on AA/BA metal in the region of €1600 to LAX/SFO with a flexible approach to dates, have seen no real deals with VS apart from a couple of ex AGP to LAS via LHR for £2050 in December.
Last edited by flyingfox on 16 Jun 2022, 23:13, edited 1 time in total.
#965064 by RyanJW
13 Jun 2022, 19:24
I was looking at coming back for a family member funeral (I live in California near SFO) and Virgin wanted around $7000 for Economy for a ticket in 2-3 weeks time :-(

BA are some what more reasonable at $3000 for economy but my my, its crazy time right now!
#965065 by jonathanb
13 Jun 2022, 20:15
Clearly they are trying to get every pound they can and I don't blame them for that but on my last trip MAN > MCO in Feb outbound flight was at 50% and inbound UC was full but PE was not. That was £2700 pp.

For flights I have in 3 weeks LHR > MCO the flight is by no means full and the seat map has not really changed in the last few months.

At the moment the dates I want for next Easter are still £6800 pp in J and no one is showing in the seat mp, it will be interesting to see what happens! I did already book with Aer Lingus for October instead of VS but I would rather stick with VS if I can.

Jonathan
#965066 by mikethe3rd
13 Jun 2022, 20:16
RyanJW wrote:I was looking at coming back for a family member funeral (I live in California near SFO) and Virgin wanted around $7000 for Economy for a ticket in 2-3 weeks time :-(

BA are some what more reasonable at $3000 for economy but my my, its crazy time right now!


Sorry to hear of your loss.

Check your search as I’m getting SFO-LHR-SFO with VS for $1500-$2500 over the next month.
#965072 by deep_south
15 Jun 2022, 09:42
Miyamoto Musashi wrote:
CommanderB wrote:
mitchja wrote:I

That's a shame and hopefully the folks in Virgin pricing department wake up before everyone skips to other airlines.


We just flew back from Miami on Monday night and the 787 was almost completely full, only about 5 spare seats in economy and full in UC and PE. I was surprised as I wouldn't have thought that was a "peak" day. So maybe revenue management are getting it right?
#965074 by OCdreamin
15 Jun 2022, 16:50
flyingfox wrote:Personally I’am not ready to pull the trigger on booking at the current fare price levels, going to leave it until the summer booking window narrows for travel sometime in late November and again February going to west coast US. There are some good J fares ex MAD flying on AA/BA metal in the region of €1600 to LAX/SFO with a flexible approach to dates, have seen no real deals with VS apart from a couple of ex MAL to LAS via LHR for £2050 in December.


If you have flexibility of dates, or the trip is essentially ‘optional’, it makes sense to wait and see. For folk with less freedom, or visiting friends or family around mutually convenient dates, that doesn’t apply. I guess there are many folk in these categories who are really eager to go, having had few or no visits over the last 27+ months.
#965131 by OCdreamin
25 Jun 2022, 11:19
OCdreamin wrote:Media reports suggest demand is high, people wanting to travel are willing to pay, and there is little sign of prices collapsing.

On our last trip to California, we scored a good deal with VS, MAN to LAX, originally booked Nov '20 for travel in July '21, but due to the restrictions finally taken in Dec.; two seats in UC for £4,234 total.

For our upcoming trip, the cheapest J fares were more than £4,700 each, or even higher (VS & BA). We've opted for BA this time. Of course this is only one example on a popular route, but checking today for the same dates, departing in 2 weeks, the fare has not changed from when we booked in April!

This supports the narrative that right now airlines can fill seats, including premium cabins, without discounting, and that holding out for late reductions may not bring any advantage. In fact BA flies 3 times daily LHR to LAX with 777s in premium-heavy config. including 76J seats.


OK, update to the above. Out of curiosity just checked again for same dates departing next week.
Guess what? MAN-LAX with VS (various routes) & BA (via LHR) prices for both exceeds £17,340 for 2 PAX in J.
And there are still seats.
One can challenge the wisdom, but this very limited data, and examples from others, seems to confirm the yield Vs load factor priority right now.
Hope some of you manage to score a bargain or reward flight.
#965132 by mikethe3rd
25 Jun 2022, 12:23
When booking within two weeks of travel, the prices have always been crazy. I believe they stop selling a load of fare codes exactly two weeks out.
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