Ok, so I'm starting to think about travel and am in shock at the cost of an airline ticket to Moscow if you purchase it last minute.
I was wondering what strategies you all used to mitigate the costs (if possible). There are a few options that I'm currently exploring:
1) Humanitarian fares through a travel agency
2) I recently read that NWA / Delta (and possibly others) have 'special delivery rates' for adoptive parents that are substantially discounted and are very flexible, anyone use these??
3) Buying on my own.
Call around and find a good travel agent that specializes or has a lot of experience in adoption travel. I checked into using the "adoption fares" but they were more expensive. A good travel agent can get you a ticket that has some flexibility for changing your dates without a lot of extra fees. It is also nice to have someone you can e-mail or call in Russia to arrange whatever change you might need. You do need to work with your agency/coordinators on the Moscow side. We had to have our travel plans approved before we purchased tickets. Unfortunately you will probably travel without a lot of notice and the fares are higher than if you booked way in advance but there isn't a lot you can do about that. You may want to look into different airline programs and if there are frequent flier benefits that you can use or if you can get a credit card that earns you points toward frequent flier programs. When the time comes it is hard to know what airline you will end up with unless where you are located there aren't many options.
Check with ALL airlines and in writing to ensure you can and they will allow you to use the Frequent Flyer Miles. Just because you have points, don't assume you can use them. Case in point: We -had- a Delta credit card and lots of points towards frequent flyer. When we tried to use the ponts, (travel agency booking), Delta REFUSED to allow us to use the miles. We inquired directly to Delta and again they REFUSED to allow us to use the miles. We flew in February and returned in March, so the dates weren't in conflict with any Holiday or blackout dates.
Humanitarian fares are usually used for situations like going to help a dying parent or to the parent's funeral, if you don't have enough money for the trip. I have never heard of agencies/airlines giving them for adoption, since you are assumed to have money if you can afford to adopt (except from foster care).
Adoption fares are not necessarily the best deals you can find. The discounts mentioned on-line are off the "rack" price, and that price is usually much higher than the ones you see on the Internet. So even if there's a big discount from the rack price, it's possible that the discounted price will be higher than some of the Internet fares.
The Internet fares often sound great, but remember that they are generally "restricted" tickets. A restricted ticket is one that comes with rules regarding trip cancellations and changes. As an example, if you are forced to change your travel date to two weeks later, you could wind up paying a couple of hundred dollars in penalties, and if your trip is canceled, you may not get your money back. So read the fine print before buying one of these tickets. If you are pretty sure you will not have any changes, or if the change fees are low, then go ahead and buy them, but if there's a substantial risk of a change, or the penalty fees are high, think twice. Sometimes it's better to work with a travel agent and get an unrestricted ticket or one with very modest penalties.
If you have any frequent flyer miles, and if you are allowed to use them on the dates you will be traveling, by all means do so. Also check to see if your airline will let friends or relatives "donate" unused frequent flyer miles to you, so that you have enough for a free ticket.
All in all, flights to Russia are expensive. And with some Russian regions now requiring up to 3 or 4 trips, it's no wonder that Russia is now the most expensive country from which to adopt. Many couples wind up spending $50,000 or more on their adoptions from Russia, when travel is factored in. This contrasts with some other countries where it is not uncommon to spend under $30,000.
Last minute traveling is always costly. But sometimes good.
You can get offer if you are lucky enough.
Last update on July 27, 9:04 am by Raleigh Drigo.