My South America trip is falling into place. I have the Galapagos cruise booked and paid for (GL finally got the check), and I have my flights to and from S. America set up. I used Fly.com to book the flights, and I came up with a pretty decent price.
I first started looking at prices several weeks ago and the Fly showed the price of tickets from SFO -> Quito, Quito -> Santiago and Santiago -> SFO to be about $1,400. Over the last several weeks the prices for tickets went up to around $1,900, but then stayed at that range.
Last Wednesday I was ready to book the flights for $1,900 a person, but Katy asked me to delay until she had her flight from Santiago -> Quito and back booked. I am not sure why she wanted me to wait, but I agreed to this. Turns out this was a bad idea. The very next day I went to book my flight and the same itinerary had increased in price to $2,550 a person! Initially I started to freak out. I was booking tickets for three people and did not want to be paying an extra $650 a person.
I assumed that it was the initial flights that were the catalyst for the price increase. I re-ran my Fly and Kayak searches over and over, trying different days to depart from SFO and Quito -> Santiago, but the prices always came up in the $2,550 range. Finally I tried switching the return date, and that was when I got my price to drop back around $1,900. I had the misconception that flight prices were generally determinant on the departure date & price, not the return date. This was apparently wrong. By delaying my return date, I got the price to drop.
We will be flying mainly on Lan Airlines. This makes me very happy since I have found that foreign airlines tend to have more leg room and much better service than US airlines. Fly found the best price for Lan coming from Orbitz. I even re-ran the flight search directly from the Lan website, and the Orbitz price was better.
I am almost done with all the booking for the S. America trip. I still need to get a hotel in Quito and to plan day trips/over night trips from Santiago. I hope to have all that figured out by the end of this week. Katy sent me a list of the fun things to do in and around Santiago, so now I just need to pick some. Life is so hard.