Since S isn't coming home for fall break he definitely wants to come home for Thanksgiving. Those are the most expensive air tickets so I would like to book them soon. If he doesn't change his schedule and I know when his Weds classes are over, is there any issue in booking the tickets now? I was going to book the return for Sunday now as that seems to be a given although currently he doesn't have a class until afternoon Monday, so Monday am is an option as well.
The non-stop Sunday eve gets into BHM at 11:15, probably later on that day. Do they have shuttles running that late? I hesitate to book him onto a flight so light, but it's one of only two non-stops going into BHM and $75 less than the early am non-stop.
I found the shuttle schedule on the housing community website. If a flight is scheduled to land in BHM at 7:40, is that enough time to catch the 8pm shuttle? There aren't many choices as far as flights go, so I am wondering how close we can cut it.
While it is possible to get off the plane and outside the airport in 5 minutes, I would book an earlier flight as delays are possible and 20 minutes is cutting it very close. I generally schedule myself to arrive at least an hour earlier than the shuttle time, preferably 90 minutes or more. BHM has free WiFi and comfortable seating, so I've even scheduled myself to arrive 3.5 hours before the first shuttle.
I've mentioned previously that the shuttle times are not convenient for many flights. Plan for the shuttle to take slightly longer than an hour and to arrive at BHM 90 minutes prior to departure. I have arrived at BHM 40 minutes prior to departure, checked bags, went through security, and still had 15 minutes before my flight started boarding, but highly recommend arriving earlier.
Can't speak to the specifics of any individual class, but I would be very careful scheduling before/after breaks if there is any chance you might have a class or final. Also be aware of checkout times etc. I know we were caught up in that and had to make last-minute arrangements for Spring Break when we booked before knowing exactly what was going to happen and he had a lab that could not be missed. NJBama had a similar issue.
The shuttle service (as mentioned) can be a bit restrictive for OOS students with late Friday finals.
That's why (here's my Southwest plug again) we always fly Southwest even if it costs slightly more at times, we've changed/cancelled more flights than you can imagine. You can book early and then revisit the schedule at the date gets closer.
Idinct: First, I am so happy to hear that Bama Bound was such a success for your son and I am glad that he enjoyed it.
As for Thanksgiving and Holiday airline tickets, unfortunately they will always be expensive. Boy, do I feel your pain about the prices. All of us, parents who are OOS, know that this is probably the only downside to UA. Over the Thanksgiving vacation, flying home is probably the most expedient way to travel, so I guess that there is not much choice about the prices. But, one thing that you might consider is skipping the Thanksgiving trip home altogether. I know that my son and I had discussed this prior to applying to colleges that were a distance, because we realized that trips home would be far and few between (because of monetary costs). I mention this option only because it is such a short break and the time can always be well spent studying and resting (believe me they will need the rest). But, I want to reassure you that the OOS students last year were not forgotten over the holiday. My son received so many Thanksgiving invitations that it was hard to choose. Many local parents embrace their own student's OOS friends and invite them home. But my son also received these and other invitations from professors and Deans as well. The UA dining halls also had a "traditional" Thanksgiving dinner. My son did eventually wind up attending two separate Thanksgiving meals but had been planning a group dinner with his OOS friends. It turned out that they all received multiple invitations, some for the weekend as well. I know it seems hard to miss a holiday with your student but the Christmas break occurs so soon after, that it really isn't too bad at all.
In a weak moment S extracted a promise that he could fly home for Thankgiving this year, lol. Thanks for the info rbldmom, it sounds like the oos kids aren't forgotten and its nice to know there is a good option. We will see how it goes this year. Thanksgiving is kind of a dud at our house now, few relatives are left and my older S & D don't come home. Plus its H's busy season so he works all non-stop except for Thurs. I foresee a T-town Thanksgiving at some point.
H has decided that he is driving S down to AA so that is good. I can start stocking up up.
^^^Yes, I think you might find that by Thanksgiving time, your son may not even be looking to come home. By then, a week of sleeping is a very enticing idea. (lol). However, if you purchase tickets now they are usually non-refundable, so you might want to discuss the option of staying at the university for Thanksgiving Break soon. If he knows that there are some fun options, he might want to stay. Also some students plan group activities over the break and he might decide to do something like that.
My D could fly home on Nov 23 at either 9:00 am or 5:00 pm. Question is, what would be the best way for her to get to the airport if we were to choose 9:00 am? She'd have to leave t-town by 7:00-ish to get to airport an hour early, right?