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  1. #1

    Default Holiday Season airline travel

    My wife and I will be making our third CSA trip next year. Both of the other trips were in June but we decided to spend New Years this trip (Dec 27 - Jan 2). For those of you heading down this year from North America, when did you purchase your tickets? I think they start booking in Feb/Mar but I've heard it's best & cheapest to wait until mid-summer. Any truth to that? Seems like booking as far out as possible would be best. Thanks.
    CSA '04, '13, '17

  2. #2

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    We booked in June to travel to CSS. Departing Dec 25, returning Jan 1st. We are in Michigan. Honestly, we booked late and it was reflected in the prices. We paid $600 more than we normally do for that time of year and our days were flexible. I kept checking flights after we booked and they just got more and more expensive. Cannot wait to go home, but wish we would have booked sooner and saved some money.

  3. #3

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    We are travelling Dec. 29-Jan 6 this year. We booked early fall and I think pricing may have been a little better during the summer months but hard to remember.

  4. #4

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    Welcome Back.

    My personal opinion. Depends upon your departure city. For us, we leave from Milwaukee Wisconsin. We prefer direct non stop flights to and from Montego Bay. In Milwaukee, they only have these direct flights beginning around Christmas and about mid April. For the past few years only one flight on Wednesday and one flight on Saturday. The Wednesday flights do not begin until mid January. With such limited flights out of Milwaukee we like to book early as the flights can fill up quickly.

    However, your situation could be different. Other larger cities offer daily direct flights more than once per day from more than one airline. With more choices you may be able to wait for a better price.

    A suggestion. The number of flights passing through Sangster International Airport significantly increases around this time of year. On some days the airport can be operating near maximum capacity. If you are arriving around early to mid afternoon you may want to consider purchasing Club Mobay. Especially if you would be traveling on a Saturday which is their busiest day by far.

    Consider this. Let's say you are arriving on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 during the middle of the afternoon. I actually track the number of flights through Sangster International Airport to decide when I should use Club MOBAY. Last year the Wednesday before New Years there were 49 flights at Sangster International Airport. I would consider this a moderately busy day. Let's say there are about 10 aircraft arriving between about 30 minutes before and 10 minutes after your flight arrives. I would consider the typical aircraft that flies into this airport would average about 175 passengers. This means there could be as many as 1750 people hitting Immigrations and Customs around the same time you get there. The Sangster Immigrations and Customs staff are efficient, but this is still a lot of people. Espect to stand in line for a while. We have stood in this line for hours. Yes, plural.

    Using Club MOBAY you are whisked to the front of these lines where you are next. On average we make it from the aircraft door to the Couples lounge in the terminal in about 10 to 15 minutes. A special vacation in paradise deserves some extra VIP treatment. You just spent all that money for your trip to paradise. An extra $100 for VIP treatment and getting past those long lines are worth it.

    Enjoy your stay in paradise
    Jack and Kathy
    CSA 2007, 2010, and 2016. CTI 2012, 2014. CN 2016 (Trading Places only), 2018, 2020. 2023?

  5. #5

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    Mad Jack, you are very correct with the departure city. We should have mentioned that in our earlier post. Living in central Wisconsin we have few options as you point out with the flights out of Milwaukee. We opt to do the park and fly at a hotel near Ohare. we take the earliest flight down, but look for that direct flight back. We have even flown back to Midway and taken a cab back to our hotel near Ohare. Not too much of a hassle, but as you state your departure airport will play a big role in when to start looking at flight costs and options.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the tips. Looks like I'll try and book earlier rather than wait for a deal

    Thanks for the Club Mobay tip too Mad Jack. The first time we went they didn't have that option and I remember waiting a long time. Our second trip was the first direct flight of the day from Atlanta. We didn't purchase the Club Mobay and I was glad we didn't. If we weren't the first arriving passengers for the day to hit customs, we were REALLY close I don't remember even slowing down as we went through. I don't think we'll get that lucky again (especially since we won't be flying out of Atlanta this time). I'll probably purchase the Club option if we arrive after 11 am. I hate to loose a day of vacation standing in line.
    CSA '04, '13, '17

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by louieandsusie View Post
    Mad Jack, you are very correct with the departure city. We should have mentioned that in our earlier post. Living in central Wisconsin we have few options as you point out with the flights out of Milwaukee. We opt to do the park and fly at a hotel near Ohare. we take the earliest flight down, but look for that direct flight back. We have even flown back to Midway and taken a cab back to our hotel near Ohare. Not too much of a hassle, but as you state your departure airport will play a big role in when to start looking at flight costs and options.
    Louie and Susie,

    We are from northern Wisconsin, about 100 miles north of Green Bay. For us it has always worked out for us to fly out of Milwaukee. However, we would use Chicago if necessary. We also use a park and fly hotel near Mitchell Field. We also prefer using a direct non-stop flight

    There are direct non-stop flights between Milwaukee and Montego Bay beginning around Christmas to near mid April. Usually on Wednesday and Saturday. This gives options for 7, 10, 11, or 14 night stays. The first few flights are usually on Saturday only. The Wednesday flights begin the first or second week of January. These are charter flights and are not generally found on the typical flight finder websites. You need to book this flight through either Apple or FunJet. For example. This year Norwegian Air flight 9840 is flying this route. But you won't see it mentioned on their website because this is a charter flight.

    If you check the Apple website in late July to early August you will generally see the flight schedule between Milwaukee and Montego Bay for the upcoming winter travel season.

    Enjoy your stay in paradise
    Jack and Kathy
    CSA 2007, 2010, and 2016. CTI 2012, 2014. CN 2016 (Trading Places only), 2018, 2020. 2023?

  8. #8

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    In the past, we travel over Thanksgiving and arrive the Thursday before, and leave the Friday after, and the lines have been no longer than 25-30 minutes. Since we are arriving on a Saturday (which is New Years Eve), I decided to buy the club MoBay arrival package. Everyone is right- after spending $4000 for a week in paradise, what's another $160 to get their faster and enjoy the resort longer. (I bought the bundle arrival/departure package). Thanks Mad Jack for the suggestion- I checked the arrivals for Saturday afternoon, and there are 15 flights that arrive within 1 hour of my flight arriving, and it's a holiday so I'm playing it safe. 7 more days until vacation! Thanks for everyone's posts on the message board. They are always helpful!

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